Living in Alaska, the days get very short in winter. Where I had my home, Cordova, we would get down to about four hours of light in the dead of winter. To spend time outside, you would be out a lot in the dark. Both in the long days of summer and the short days of winter, the dimension of time can seem strange. Because it makes no difference during your near hibernation, I would find myself wandering around at three in the morning. Often when it is the coldest, it is also clear. There is very little ambient light, so the stars appear numerous and bright. The air is very still and the cold makes an almost inaudible whining sound. When it is that cold, the moisture is drawn up out of the snow, and minute crystals frost the snow’s surface. Like tiny prisms, they glaze everything, breaking-up and refracting the starlight.
In the near complete silence, you crunch along through the snow. It is so reflective, if the moon is out, it is almost bright like daylight. To make the magic even more complete, often there will be an Aurora or Northern Lights. Sun particles cast into space by solar flares get trapped in the earths gravitation and are drawn to the magnetic poles to fall through the atmosphere in beautiful ever changing wave-like patterns of neon-pastels. These colors and their undulating waves dance across the snowscape. Oh the beauty — Alaskan Winter Nights.