I am a family man living in southern New Hampshire, USA. I live where I live, and in the middle of the night, without venturing from home, I see what I see.
I gaze at the night sky from just north of the 43rd parallel. But on night’s like last night, the forecast was special. Rated a 6 out of 10, or a ‘high’. And the map showed that I would be well above the viewing line of the north horizon. Were I further north, or higher in elevation, my views would have been even more impressive. Then again, you never know if cloud cover will override the forecast, too. So, upon seeing the forecast for last night, I was happy to see that there was not a cloud anywhere to be seen.
Now, I am not very good at taking pictures, especially at night, but I do try. A lot. These pictures honestly don’t do the scene justice, but I wanted to share them so that others might also #getoutside and see that there is just so much to see.
I was outside from 12:30 am until just after 2:00 am. It was 39°F, and the breeze was doing all it could to be upgraded to a full-fledged wind. After my eyes adjusted I was amazed at the light, even with no visible moon. Just stars, and these dancing lights on the horizon.
I used the tripod (awesome gift from my kids, a few years back), my camera, and I stood in my front yard, grinning. I must admit that I was tired, and probably a little giddy too. I thanked the Lord out loud, and I prayed off and on. I sang the words to How Great Thou Art, and I had an absolute blast out there by myself, watching the sky.
Even though I didn’t want to go inside, I figured that at some point I had to go in and sleep. So, shortly after 2:00 am, I went inside. I checked the temperature, still 39°F. And I went upstairs to bed.
From upstairs the view was even more impressive, but I didn’t want to shoot pictures through the screens. Or, open the windows to the cool breezes and freeze out my wife. Minutes after I climbed into bed, our youngest son came into our room and climbed into bed. I noticed that he was wide awake. Then father and son, had a nice little moment as I held him up high to the window and let him stare at the lights on the horizon. I asked him if he knew what they were called (he’s 6 years old). He said, “Yes, they are the Southern Lights”. Close enough. He corrected himself and then referenced the movie ‘The Polar Express’. We enjoyed this moment somewhere around 2:30 am. He was nearly as excited as I had been.
Then, finally, with everyone tucked into bed, I found sleep. I am willing to bet that I fell asleep with a smile on my face. I thoroughly enjoyed being out in the cool, clean, crisp air, watching the skies and all of the beauty found across this vast space. All from my little spot here in NH, where trees in all directions block most of the views to the horizon. One day, or night, I’ll get to an open, elevated, space when the forecast is 5 or higher, and I’ll watch.