Irish Emerald Skies


Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone.  Like many of you today (and this whole weekend), I will be celebrating it by faking Irish heritage by perpetuating negative stereotypes.  Yep, I’m going to drink beer.  I’m not going to drink the green beer … why waste a near perfect beverage by putting food coloring in it makes no sense to me; unless its the big brand crappy beer, you can’t mess that up anymore more.

There isn’t anything too utterly special going on today around Anchorage.  Many of the bars and pubs have been celebrating all weekend with specials, ugly hats, and generally bad reasons to get people to over indulge.  When I lived in Milwaukee years ago, I had a personal rule to stay home to hide from the “Rookie Night Drinkers”.  I do feel a bit obligated, since my most common hangout is an Irish Bar if I get out once it should be today.  They have Traditional Irish Music (which they usually get some real good bands playing anyway).  Much of the festivities is outdoors, and a cold blow came in, so its 7°F, so ……

There was a detail that did give Anchorage a bit more of the Irish flare last night.

Yep … just one little detail.

Ok, it wasn’t all that little.

Last night, the sky turned Emerald Green.

Since the idea to move to Alaska popped in my head, the one thing I couldn’t wait for was a chance to see the Aurora Borealis, the light effect caused by solar charged particles bouncing off the stratosphere.  I saw it a few times when I was in College in Michigan’s UP, and couple other possible times as well – but I knew my chances to see it would be way up here.  It’s actually uncommon for Anchorage to have the Aurora; it stays further to the north and you have to get lucky with cloud coverage.  I joined a website that is supposed to alert us if there is aurora activity but I noticed they tend to be a day late and a dollar short.  Since moving here, I believe I’ve seen it a couple times, maybe a third – the best being a single wave over the mountains to the east.

Yesterday, I was continuing my bad trend of lazy Saturdays.  Curled Friday night late, spent the morning with the pup, making the need for an afternoon nap — which of course leaves me too tired to do anything Saturday, and not tired enough to fall asleep until past midnight.  When I decided to go to bed, I thought to let the pup cuddle up with me – but that meant letting Auggie out to do some business.

Awaiting for us was a ribbon of an aurora that went from east to west, horizon to horizon.  I ran right overhead, and took up a third to a half of the sky.  Sometimes the aurora can be multi colored, but last night it was a brilliant emerald green.  It shifted, it moved, it danced.  It looked like the sky was enchanted by the spirits of St Patrick itself.  The Aurora shined so bright I thought it might leave a shadow.

I wanted to spend as long as possible watching it, but in minutes it started getting too cold for the pooch (and me) plus the neighbor’s lights came on like wondering what someone was standing outside for at 1am.  I stood at my window for a while longer with Auggie falling asleep on my shoulder until a little bit of haze made the show fuzzy but that was enough for now.  I saw it, and it was huge.

So, in your cities that paint the streets green, or color the rivers green, enjoy.  Here – the skies are green, and we didn’t even have to lift a finger.


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