Dick Hunt's Blog

January 16, 2013

Northern Lights And Other Sights.

Filed under: Current — Tags: — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 1:13 pm

Northern Lights And Other Sights.
by Dick Hunt, January 14th, 2013.

During the first 35 years of my life, more than 30 of which I have a keen memory, a most beautiful display was frequently seen in the northern sky at certain times of the year. Officially called, ‘The Aurora Borealis’, it was a flashing, multicoloured, constantly moving panorama of brilliance from one side of the northern heavens to the other. The colours ranged from brilliant yellow, green, blue, red, purple and mixtures too mumerous to describe. The times when I was most amazed were those when I was moving or herding Cattle at night on cattle drives with the whole northern heavens before us. There were no distractions to interrupt our feast of light. The cattle just plodded along and we had a show beyond words to bless us with pristine beauty.

During the years of the ‘Dust Bowl’, when we had hardly a drop of rain for several years, we didn’t lack for Thunder and Lightning storms on the western Prairies. The most magnificent storms happened in the night and went on for hours. The skies turned black and dark blue with fast moving clouds, the lightning flashed, shortly followed by crashing and rolling thunder, it would be so continuous that you could read a book in the lights coming through the window. The lightning rods on our buildings would glow with blue electricity and we would not venture outdoors for the danger of being struck by lightning. One of our neighbors had an outdoor antenna hooked into her battery radio. She also had a wire clothes line near the radio. Lightning struck the antenna, followed into the kitchen and burnt up the radio and the clothes line. It was beautiful but thick with danger.
Half a mile away, lightning struck a two strand barbed wire fence and melted it for one quarter of a mile. On occsasion, when we were caught away from home during a Thunderstorm, the metal parts of the horses harness glowed with blue electricity. They were acting as intense lightning rods, making a contact with the ground through their bodies.

In the sixties, I used to conduct Church Summer Camps in the region 60 miles west of Calgary in the mountains On one occasion, I had agreed to let the Youth leaders and some of the adults go to a movie in Banff. Not long after dark, a violent Thunderstorm swept in over the mountains to the south with floods of rain. We had 80 young boys in the camp, all in bed, frightened – and my only staff were the Camp Mother and the Nurse. We constantly moved from cabin to cabin, with our flashlights, walking through water over our shoes and making sure the boys were alright. The rest of the staff arrived back about midnight after a frigthtening trip.

A few days later I led the Junior Leaders around the mountain to our south, up the steep shale slope to the Fire Wardens post at the top. We visited the couple for awhile and they shared their experience of the storm that enveloped them. The husband said that at the hight of the storm the electrical charge over their lookout was so powerful that his wife’s long hair stood straight up, every bit of metal glowed blue, they actually recorded more than 160 lightning bolts hit the side of the cliff 200 yards away and were quite unable to track any other lightning strikes in other directions because of the sheer number. And did we Pray? Yes we did! And all of us, campers, staff and the couple in the Fire Wardens Tower were sure that God had us in the palm of His hands all the time.

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