February 4, 2012
All is sunshine this morning. It glistens through the thick hoar frost on the Amur maple grove next door and picks diamonds out of the soft white snow. Glenn, who has been through a difficult surgery this week, is on the mend in the hospital and our daughters are both here with us. The girls and I will spend the day with Glenn and then go out for “dinner” this evening, but more to talk and laugh than eat. We revel in the aura of happiness that surrounds our family when we are together.
This has been a week of fog and mist. It swirled around the streets, collecting under lampposts and coating the trees. It obscured the road ahead and shrouded the world in mystery. It hid the ugliness of melting snow and sand, even in the cruelest part of town. I was thankful for its comforting blanket which muffled threat and unkindness.
The weather is strange. We had four straight days of that fog, but the day before the fog moved in, we were visited by sun dogs, which put on a brilliant display on either side of the sun. Maybe the unusual weather has something to do with recent solar activity, although most scientists say that solar storms have a greater effect on communications and technology than on weather.
Nevertheless, NASA predicts that 2012 will be the year of massive sun storms, part of an 11-year cycle, ramping up steadily until next year. Last Sunday, January 29, was one of those nights, when there was a solar flare that hurled billions of tons of plasma toward earth, the strongest such flare since May 2005.
The projected activity on the sun will magnify the chances of seeing the aurora borealis here in Winnipeg this February and March. We often see the lights, sometimes in summer. They illuminate the sky with swirly white rays, that fill the viewer with wonder. It’s just another bonus of living in a northern clime.