The adventure unfolds from the narrative vantage point of the child, who reverses to recall at your house with its “warm, buttery light spilling from the cooking area window,” back at the two sets of “footprints in the silvery frost,” then up at the sky, “a ship of shivering stars.”.
Outside whatever was still.Even the pet dogs were peaceful, and the cows looked like prehistoric creatures, their noses streaming smoke.
In 1621, already questioning his life in the priesthood– the eras safest and most reputable profession for the educated– the 29-year-old Pierre Gassendi, a mathematical prodigy given that childhood, took a trip to the Arctic circle as he started diverting his enthusiastic erudition toward Aristotelian approach and astronomy. There, under the polar skies, he witnessed an otherworldly spectacle on Earth– our worlds most intimate and significant contact with its house star, a chromatic swirl of the ephemeral and the everlasting unloosed as solar winds blow millions of charged particles from the Sun throughout the orrery of the Solar System and into Earths environment, where our magnetic fields bring them towards the poles. As they collide with the particles of various climatic gasses, they discharge and ionize energy as photons of different colors– red, blue, green, and violent– painting the nocturne with the waking dream of a pastel-technicolor dawn.
And then, all of a sudden, the aurora appears, its “wide wings of light” sweeping across the sky to expand the childs eyes with wonder.
In 1621, currently questioning his life in the priesthood– the periods best and most respectable profession for the informed– the 29-year-old Pierre Gassendi, a mathematical prodigy because youth, took a trip to the Polar circle as he started diverting his enthusiastic erudition towards Aristotelian approach and astronomy. There, under the polar skies, he saw a transcendent spectacle in the world– our planets most remarkable and intimate contact with its house star, a chromatic swirl of the ephemeral and the eternal unloosed as solar winds blow millions of charged particles from the Sun across the orrery of the Solar System and into Earths atmosphere, where our magnetic fields bring them toward the poles. As they clash with the particles of different climatic gasses, they ionize and release energy as photons of different colors– red, blue, green, and violent– painting the nocturne with the waking dream of a pastel-technicolor dawn.
They stroll with vigorous excitation throughout the open field and through the skeletal trees as the warm humankind of their breath puffs into the cold night air, into the silence they share with the other breathing animals that make this planet a world.
Late one night, a daddy awakens his child– a kid of ambiguous gender and ethnic background, a touching effort to approximate the universal in the human– to slip out of your house together, past the comfortably sleeping mom and the baby in the baby crib, and out into the winter season nocturne on a mission of wonder.
On the walk house, back to your home with the warm buttery light, the father shares everything he knows about the aurora– a secret everythingness exposed on the last page of the book, in a quick science guide of an afterword, sweetly entitled “Everything Dad Knew about the Aurora.”.
Awestruck with the natural poetry and the mythic feeling-tone of the luminescent spectacle, Gassendi named what he saw Aurora borealis– after Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn, and borealis, the Latin word for “northern.” Ultimately, as explorers braved the icy oceanic expanses to go to the polar regions of the Southern hemisphere over the following centuries, they adapted Gassendis etymology to name the Antarctic version of the luminescent display Aurora australis, after the Latin word for “southern.”.
Couple Seeking an Aurora with the motivating picture-book biography of trailblazing astronomer Maria Mitchell, then revisit a literary titans account of the other excellent cosmic spectacle noticeable from Earth– Virginia Woolfs arresting meditation on the total solar eclipse.
From the land of Aurora australis comes Seeking an Aurora (public library)– a work of transcendence and tenderness by New Zealand author-artist duo Elizabeth Pulford and Anne Bannock, whose extra poetic prose and soulful paintings interleave to enlush an inner landscape of marvel, suspended in between the creaturely and the cosmic.
Illustrations courtesy of Blue Dot Kids Press; photographs by Maria Popova.
Dancing light, glowing and glimmering, shimmering and shining.Colored ribbons swirling and twirling, illuminating the sky on the still, dark night.
Dad and kid are quiet under the soft technicolor sky– a blown away silence that stimulates the works of the poet Diane Ackerman, who wrote long earlier in her spectacular Cosmic Pastoral of feeling “stricken by the ricochet wonder of all of it: the plain everythingness of everything, in cahoots with the everythingness of everything else.”.
As the set ascend the high hill toward their lookout, the cows and the canines decline into the range, leaving only the stars, the Moon, and the swell of anticipation.