Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ready, Set, Snow!

I'm the last in the race, I know, but it's still an amazing race and worth-recording.

Long before the onset of winter, it was predicted that it would be a warm winter. I tended to agree, especially when the middle of October arrived and there was no sign of snow at all. In all my six winters since I came here, snowfall always came in mid-October, but not this time.

Apprehension began to rise within me. I dreaded the thought of snowless winter. The reason I love this season is the presence of snow, without it I might be ranked among the winter haters. Or probably not because there are many other features of winter in this polar region that I delight in. But snow is still the best element of winter for me.

Finally, lots of snow came by the middle of November, just a day or two, enough to blanket the ground with the thickness that satisfied me and to coat the trees with fluffy whiteness.

After that, temperature rose again and slowly melted the snow. It's been dark, showery, snowless and slushy thereafter.

And then came another heavy snowfall after we moved to our new apartment. That heaped a thick layer of snow over the frosty ground that stayed for days or weeks.

views from our new apartment unit

Finally, the temperature held below zero, and the snow stayed put, up to this day.

Once again, this lowly "snow queen" is having her fill of the pleasures that winter brings, enjoying another season in a snowy wonderland. As always, her heart bursts with joy and gratitude for this season's gifts.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Northern Lights - When the Sky Turned Green

In my latest aurora blog, Tangerine Clouds Across the Auroras, I mentioned that that was just a prequel to a bigger show that appeared the following night, and that I was going to post it in the future. Unfortunately, that future stretched out to 2016. There have been smaller aurora appearances since then, but I still have to keep a vivid memory of the Oct. 7, 2015 appearance.

The northern lights that time were so strong that even when the afternoon was still bright, the movements of the dancing lights were visible across the blue sky. When the afternoon deepened, the whole sky seemed to be layered with an organza cloth in pastel green. I was out on a mission that time so I didn't have my right camera. Even then, I used the point-and-shoot camera that I always bring with me and took a few snapshots. As expected, they're quite blurry.

As soon as I came home, despite my churning tummy due to hunger, I went to our backyard and started to take longer exposure shots. By then, the aurora had begun to light up intensely and my camera worked non-stop until the lights subsided. Watching the lights banished my hunger.

Here are some of the images I took.

"O'er all the widespread northern skies,
How glows and waves that heavenly light,
Where dome and arch, and column rise
Magnificently bright!"
-from The Aurora Borealis by S.G. Bulfinch

"Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, coming down from the Father of the celestial lights, who does not vary or change like the shifting shadows."
-James 1:17