i first noticed the aurora on stop number 6 last night. an arching glow to the north that belied sunset and distant civilizations. i exhorted it on with “come ons” and “yeahs,” because it has been a while since my owl surveys were bathed in their fluorescent glow and when owling, an aurora is the perfect accompaniement for an evening of isolation in the north woods.
the arch sent up shivering stilettos of light, dancing from horizon to horizon.
electrons danced their dance.
a great-horned owl called its mate.
then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the aurora’s luster diminished and within 15 minutes, was gone. prominence, brilliance, excitement, anticipation, inability to focus, then disappointment…with me left alone in the dark by myself.
just like most of my relationships.
after the aurora was done teasing, a thin film of clouds moved in from the south. after that, my next 40 stops were spent in an acoustically void landscape. one saw-whet and a single trill call from a barred owl.
some parts of owling remain befuddling to me. mostly, because everything i interpret is done through the eyes of an owler, and not the owl. when i think like an owl, it is rarely insightful or rewarding. last night…were i an owl, i would have been getting busy, presenting my mate with dead animals and the warm confines of a homestead; singing, flitting about excitedly, feeling the surge of testosterone and whatever other elixirs course through the rammy owl’s veins during the haughty nights of april.
some day perhaps, i will figure it all out and everything will make sense and i will be able to let all this go and be content not venturing into the night like the driven biologist i am.
perhaps that will happen.
i would sure hate to miss an aurora though. even if it only lasts 20 minutes.