Until the end of the world

The Horizon Seems to Beckon me

Two hours earlier it was starting off to be an unusual evening.

I received a call from a friend in Burlington that there was an aurora borealis heading my way.  I had never seen one except on the Discovery Channel.  I had always thought that they are so fleeting that to even be able to capture it on film would be highly unusual.  Therefore, to actually be told one was coming my way, I was dubious.

I ran outside in spite of my skepticism.  If it was going to happen, I was not going to miss it on my watch. And I wasn’t disappointed.

I watched in the northwest sky as a well-defined sheet of red came in a spray over my head. Unusual. Red is not a common color in this phenomenon.

“Red, that is at the limit of what the human eye can see” Borealis FAQ.

They are usually green- blue and white. This one was red and purple. It came spreading from a small point in the distance to a well defined spray line until the sky was a complete wash in red, and as quickly as it came, it disappeared in a second. It looked as if it were being sucked into a tiny pinhole over my head.

I was so enamored; I continued to stare at the minute dot in the sky. And lucky I did. A burst of red, green, purple, and yellow came from that little hole in the heavens and covered the entire atmosphere.

And then the twilight faded into pastels and I could see, indiscernible to most, there were fine lines going north, south, east, and west. It looked like graph paper. No one else saw it….

Earlier that day.

6am

Today is a holiday. No work and a strangely promising day if you lent yourself to mysticism.

I decided to hit the grocery store early before the New Year’s Eve crowd came enmass to prepare for football and friends, as opposed to Christmas with faith and family. I expected to see more than a few people, I was certain I wasn’t the only person who took advantage of this time frame to do my shopping, but the store was empty.

I took advantage of the situation, I can take my time. I grabbed a newspaper – a few and far between treat, made my way to the store’s coffee shop, sure to have at least a few of the early morning regulars.

This little built-in Starbucks always juiced a good crowd no matter the occasion or time. But the only patrons were the store’s staff. They sipped their choices hunched over the table, exchanging veiled banter. They stopped, as if in accord, turned their heads up, and most said hello, others smiled and flicked fingers from their cups of java in a wave.

It was bewildering. I made my order, the barista especially affable. Quickly, as Starbucks’ intention, my Vente’ Mocha Frappicino was ready. I made it to a table, customers engaging me as I tried to ignore them, but my upbringing forced me to engage.

“This is so very peculiar” I thought.

I opened the paper and found some of the journalism to be typical:

Gas prices at an all-time high, some stations forced to closed…

Hunting season reflects a diminished interest…

And the headlines “President Obama concerned over the ineffectiveness of Nuclear Regulation”.

The chances of a mistake by ignorance has been ….

I was immediately distracted by a story that almost seemed to speak to these headlines;

Record number of patients were detached home from hospitals. ..

Who would even notice such a thing? Patients requested doctors to discharge them early so they could be home with family. The story continued.  It seems more people believed in the far-fetched stories of psychics than originally thought! I laid the paper down, went to get a scone, came back to reclaim my seat, the paper was gone. I looked around the room, no paper, all eyes on me. The Twilight Zone…perhaps. I left, after grabbing a few items.

I forgot Milk, and I was not going back in there. At least not till I found a mirror. My rearview reflected no unusual facial missteps or snot hanging from my nose. I checked my pants, not unzipped, no toilet paper hanging from the back of my jeans or the bottom of my shoes.

I stopped at the convenience store instead. And IT WAS MOBBED.

What the hell?

People were buying things they would purchase at the grocery because of the ridiculous markup. Toilet paper, coffee, ice. I checked the date on the milk, it expires in two days. Unusual for a convenience store. Milk is a top selling item and they always had a generous expiration. And supply. I picked up the last carton and made my way to the end of the line.

The clerk was exceedingly pleasant, as were the customers waiting their turn, holding diapers and juice. It as after 6am, yet no one was purchasing alcohol. I requested a lotto ticket for the upcoming drawing.

“This is the first one I sold today” the clerk smiled, his eyes raised in curiosity.

I then noticed the sign:  We will be closing at noon today. We will stay until then because of the generous patronage you have afforded this establishment.

Odd. This must be their last day. For whatever reason, a lot of these businesses were closing.  I secretly hoped I would win so the merchant could realize the 1% pay-off from the claim.

The day went by uneventful. My family had no idea where I was, and I didn’t want to open those doors. I had a haunting feeling that I should. I let that go. I turned on HBO to watch Testament. And following that, the hit from last year’s Christmas, The Darkest Hour would follow. They both were going to run consecutively throughout the day, lucky, because I decided to nap in between. Until the phone rang.

“Dianne, go outside, there is a borealis on its way”.

I ran outside, really not expecting to see it, but there it was.

I sat on the front porch for another hour trying to absorb what I saw.

How many dreams I had about this very thing.  Am I dreaming now, or I am imagining it? But I saw those graph lines almost embossed in the night sky with the borealis fading into pastels. I had no witnesses so I was on my own.

And then the sky broke loose with this cold rain, the kind you feel in your bones.

The borealis had sung with electricity. My exacting brain was fearful of the rain mixed with that electricity and I made certain to sport my rubber-soled sneakers, keeping my hands and body clear of any kind of conductor.  I placed my hind end firmly in the wooden rocker, using my feet to scuff myself to the window and watch the events of the night sky.

I was distracted by the houses across the street with their big picture windows. No games on the TV’s, no TV’s. Their rooms were filled with older and younger folks and children. Not a bunch of men, or female sports fanatics. Family.

This day is just getting distractingly peculiar.

And then within the painted sky, small orbs appeared and a meteor shower ensued.  I was mesmerized, as the perfect squares of the graph image I saw at the beginning became ever so vivid and then larger pastel orbs refelecting planets.  My neighbors and their families slowly crept outside, arms folded, some with their hands on the small shoulders of offspring, their eyes fixed on the unfolding show. No one seemed to notice me, and as accustomed as I was to luring others into my concepts of the moment, I chose to let them be. They looked as if that was their choice as well.

The orbs continued, but they paled in comparison to the atmospheric exhibition. I dreamt this a thousand times and a thousand times it felt like a dream. This time it’s real. I recognized the clarity of words in human voices, I could smell the environment dampness, I could feel the electricity. And I finally knew.

The folks at Starbucks, the empty grocery, the packed convenience store, the general goodwill, the movie choices.

As I enter this into my journal, this New Years eve of 2012, the night sky is now as bright as a summer dawn and … ….. ……. …….. ………….. …………………… ——————-

…….

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