Nope, not I, even though Ottawa’s nighttime skies have been overcast for the last two night times, completely obscuring the aurora display from an unusually strong solar storm. (I mean, come on: We had rain last night. Rain!) Considering the knowledge and the specialist equipment often needed to even see, much less fully appreciate, astronomical events, the auroras by contrast are an equal-opportunity event.

“For most people here on planet Earth, they won’t have to do anything,” said Rob Steenburgh, a scientist with NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

Yup, you basically just need to stay up, show up, and look up. And the sky needs to stay out of the way.

“That’s really the gift from space weather: the aurora,” Steenburgh said. He and his colleagues said the best views may come from phone cameras, which are better at capturing light than the naked eye.

Snap a picture of the sky, and “there might be actually a nice little treat there for you,” said Mike Bettwy, operations chief for the prediction center.

My phone camera is better at picking up light than my eye even just when photographing sunsets, so I guess this doesn’t surprise me, but it’s good to be reminded. Go ahead: Take your best shot, literally.

As for why I’m not crabby (except maybe just a little bit) even though I missed out on this apparently fabulous overhead display, it’s because the flowering crabapple tree in our front yard has been doing its own short-lived thing for the last few days. It isn’t quite the Northern Lights, but I can see it even through the rain.

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10 Responses to Crabby?

  1. Happy Mother’s Day, Isabel, your metaphors linking the heavens to the earth are so aptly illustrated! I, too, was disappointed to miss seeing the aurora. But I can rhapsodize on your theme of things visible, even through the rain. Two days ago, our PTSD recluse with prevalent psychosis attained left-brain dominance. It seems to be holding in spite of his cannabis use. Most telling, perhaps, is a change in the dogs. Every time he came downstairs or entered our living space a wall of voice-drowning barking would erupt. Another of the sea-changes in his personality struck me when I saw him petting Muffin yesterday — he has not touched or otherwise engaged with any of the dogs or cats for five years. I noticed, then, that none of them had barked at him all day. They know that they no longer need to warn and to defend me. He is capable of smiling again. He has become insightful. He is able to talk about his illness, apologize, communicate. I will always associate his springing into renewed life with your crab trees in the rain — the perfect metaphor.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – And Happy Mother’s Day to you also. What a timely gift for you! Spring is the perfect season for renewals of all sorts – I’m so glad that you’re all experiencing this one.

  2. Tom Watson says:

    Seeing those delightful colours in the trees should take away any “crabby”!

  3. Judith Umbach says:

    Lovely photos of the crabapple blossoms! More accessible than the Aurora Borealis, which I couldn’t see from my backyard as promised on the news. Not that I stayed up all the way to 2:00 am.

  4. barbara carlson says:

    Saw the aurora only once — at a cottage with friends. We four laid on the ground for a better view — after walking backwards looking up to be able to take it all in, in vain. Afterwards I swore I’d heard music with it. It was composed of long feathery lines of shimmery bright green that reached up to a zenith, all undulating in waves . Would have missed it, but the guys had gone outside to pee before going to bed and came back shouting — You gotta come outside and see this!
    It continued for a long time and afterwards, as it slowly faded, we all just sighed. We had no words. What a privilege. I hope the sky clears for tonight.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Being away from city lights is key, I think. Your encounter sounds spectacular. Here’s hoping tonight is better.

  5. Jim Robertson says:

    Must admit I slept through the first night of the Aura, was up a good part of the second night to watch the clouds cover the sky

    The crabapples are blooming profusely this year for sure. Making up for last year perhaps. They are beautiful in the spring, but a pain in the fall with the cleanup as no bird or squirrel will touch them. Although the odd dog does (??).

    The cherry tree in the backyard is blooming like we’ve never seen it do before. But the blossoms produce fruit for birds, squirrels and most importantly humans.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – I just heard from a neighbour that Merrickville had clear skies – and that’s only about 65 km south of here. As for the flowering crabapples, here’s to trees that produce fruit for consumption (by man or by beast).

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