On an Alaskan Sky

From wonder into wonder existence opens. (Lao Tzu, philosopher)

The sight filled the northern sky; the immensity of it was scarcely conceivable. As if from Heaven itself, great curtains of delicate light hung and trembled. Pale green and rose-pink, and as transparent as the most fragile fabric, and at the bottom edge a profound fiery crimson like the fires of Hell, they swung and shimmered loosely with more grace than the most skillful dancer. (Philip Pullman, “The Golden Compass”)

The northern cheek of the heavens,
By a sudden glory kissed,
Blushed to the tint of roses,
And hid in an amber mist,
And through the northern pathway,
Trailing her robe of flame,
The queenly Borealis
In her dazzling beauty came!
(May Riley Smith, “Aurora Borealis”)

O’er all the widespread northern skies,
How glows and waves that heavenly light,
Where dome, and arch, and column rise
Magnificently bright!
(Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch, “The Aurora Borealis”)

I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. (Henry David Thoreau, author-poet-philosopher)

I’ve stood outside my house in Montana looking at the northern lights… crackling against the night sky. To me, that’s magic. (Christopher Paolini, author)

On Exploring an Uncontrollable Dance

Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself. (Annie Leibovitz, photographer)

For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger;
At whose approach ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards. (William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

The sight filled the northern sky; the immensity of it was scarcely conceivable. As if from Heaven itself, great curtains of delicate light hung and trembled. Pale green and rose-pink, and as transparent as the most fragile fabric, and at the bottom edge a profound fiery crimson like the fires of Hell, they swung and shimmered loosely with more grace than the most skillful dancer. (Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass)

The north! the north! from out the north
What founts of light are breaking forth,
And streaming up these evening skies,
A glorious wonder to our eyes!
(Hannah Flagg Gould, The Aurora Borealis)

When I look at the northern lights … I see our ancestors dancing around a sacred fire, lighting the way for us when it’s time for us to cross over from this physical world and join them. (Molly Larkin, What do the Northern Lights mean for us?)

On a Time Lapse Across America

This is the last of this installment of Exploring as I hope to return toward my normal routine with the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

I love time-lapse photography, especially ones involving the sky as it moves over the stillness of land. Please share the thoughts that this video stimulates in your mind.

Enjoy this trip across America from National Geographic. For those desiring a guide, below is your itinerary.

00:00 – Badlands National Park, South Dakota
00:16 – Yosemite National Park, California
00:26 – Zion National Park, Utah
00:37 – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
00:44 – Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
01:06 – Monument Valley National Park, Arizona
01:20 – Marysville, Ohio
01:31 – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
01:58 – Central Florida
02:03 – Flagstaff, Arizona
02:09 – Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho
02:13 – Holbrook, Arizona
02:21 – Marysville, Ohio
02:25 – Monument Valley, Arizona
02:29 – Texas
02:32 – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
02:36 – Bandon Beach, Oregon
02:39 – White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
02:43 – Big Sur, California
02:46 – Santa Barbara, California
02:53 – Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
03:26 – Bruneau Dunes State Park, Oregon
03:51 – Zion National Park, Utah
04:03 – Yosemite National Park, California
04:19 – Zion National Park, Utah
04:34 – Monument Valley National Park, Arizona
04:46 – Yosemite National Park, California

On Exploring a Northern Island

Like many, I first learned about Iceland when studying the Vikings in elementary school. As an island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, today I don’t think of the Vikings, but genetics is my prime thought. Although there is some disagreement on the matter, some consider Icelandic genes to be more homogeneous (less diverse) than other lands. Given the mobility of humans today and because isolation is one important aspect of evolution, the thought is intriguing.

Being that we enjoy cruising, cruise ships do go to Iceland … and my wife has mentioned an interest in visiting the mountainous place with hot springs.

Enjoy this National Geographic video about Iceland.

On Exploring Around and Above a Volcano

How you ever been to Indonesia? When I picture Indonesia, images of lush tropical rain forests come to mind … but not volcanoes – although I realize that area is volcanic. The Exploring series continues with another stunning time lapse with wonderful music, so sit back and enjoy.