A Little Thing Called Serendipity…

Serendipity: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. According to Lexico.com in 1754 the term was coined by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes ‘were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of’.

I was laying in bed after checking the space weather data (poor), observing clouds moving in, and feeling a little relieved that I could finally concentrate on some lost sleep when it suddenly occurred to me that I had forgotten to close and lock the patio door. I could have just pulled it shut and snapped the lock, but, as is my habit, I looked out at the night sky (just in case) and there was the waning crescent moon rising orange. It was lightly wrapped in cloud giving every appearance of a wheel of cheese wrapped in gauze.

Grabbing my camera, changing the lens from ultra-wide angle (aurora) to wide angle and then changing it again to zoom(because damn, the moon looks so close until you look through the lens). After the shots all began to look the same, I stood back and realized there was a hint of green. I changed back to ultra-wide angle and indeed there was some aurora.

If it was winter, I would not have been able to resist the moon and would likely have taken a couple shots and ignored the slight green. The cold has a definite effect on creativity and makes the bed look infinitely more inviting. But this night (morning), at 12:12am, the ambient air temperature was still 20°C, the stillness surrounded me like a cocoon, and the sky held all sorts of promise. The clouds ambled across the sky meaning no harm (although we could use the rain!). The neighbourhood was quiet enough to let me know I was the only fool out standing in the night air. I felt humbled being the only witness to such splendour. I could quite happily trade the day for the night, the solitary time where thoughts can be thought without interruption. It was still warm enough that the mosquitos were at bay, I was safe in my surroundings, and, although tired from two previous late nights, I knew the next day held nothing pressing and I could simply rest if I chose. There was no dance, just moonlight playing with clouds and a hint of green. The Pleiades were bright.

I went into the house for some water and small dish of cashews. I pulled the lawn chair up next to the camera and held the remote shutter and just beheld. The Lady Aurora tried to take off, but more towards the west – forcing me to venture onto the front lawn where I was assaulted by streetlights and my neighbours security light.

After a brief but colourful attempt, she never really took off – but she was there. Whereas two nights before she was in fierce competition with the moon for sky dominance, tonight she sat in companionship and acted more like a highlight than a scene stealer.

The sky doesn’t need to be animated to enjoy it. After two late nights in a row – one Aurora chasing and the other astro-imaging – it was a welcome relief to just be. Sleepless night? Don’t fight it – go to a window and look up – there are always wonders to behold. I highly recommend a little less sleep every now and again…it is truly a gift. 

It all began with a glimpse of the moon…

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