Last night, the Aurora Borealis was expected to make an appearance in this part of the world. News told us that might even see them from our own back yard. I was excited! I’ve only seen the Northern Lights once and that was long ago in the Okanagan of British Columbia while camping. It was such an incredible experience that night! I woke my son so he could see the magnificence of the colours streaming across the sky. Last night, I waited – and waited – and waited.

But, in spite of a clear sky, no rain and news media postulating such a sighting might be possible, no Northern Lights. I even set the alarm to get up and see them!

Long ago, while doing consulting work in Alaska, my Alaska friend, Scott, took me out to a field, far away from any lights for several nights. Each night we waited and waited and waited in his truck for the Northern Lights to appear. He kept telling me they were magnificent – stunning! – and often appeared there. Nope. Not one sighting. Any night.

When I got home, there was a message from Scott … the night I left, the Northern Lights appeared and “they were incredible!” One more night – if I had just delayed my flight home one more night – but, I didn’t and have been dreaming of seeing them again one day. Last night, I came sooooo close.

While I may never see the Northern Lights in person, those nights sitting out in the Alaska field with Scott, waiting for the Northern Lights to make an appearance, and last night waiting at home, offered opportunities to pray for and think about the environment – and play.

Photos I’ve seen of the Northern Lights show them as multi-coloured, but I decided to play only with blues and purples, just for the fun of it. Some day, I hope I get to see the Northern Lights in person again, but in the meantime, I’ll continue to dabble in watercolour, enjoy Scott’s Facebook photos of the Northern Lights that regularly appear in his part of the world, and reflect on the environment and my role in keeping it healthy.

Shine on, beautiful skies above this world! May you be a reminder to all human beings of the role we play in the existence of a healthy world of clean air. And may those beautiful skies bring solace and hope where grieving, fragmentation and fear about the future of this world prevail.

© June Maffin