What a great time to be in Alaska. The leaves are changing and the air is getting cooler. The nights are just a little longer and the mist in the wind refreshes your soul. Last night was a great day to run dogs. I helped out a couple new friends that are premiere Siberian Husky racers and I was privileged to go along while they trained three teams of 16 dogs. The dogs were remarkable. Probably the best trained Siberians I have ever seen in my life. Their leaders on all three teams responded quickly and turned on a dime. Many people train dogs for years to get their leaders to respond that well.
I arrived home about 12:15 with hopes of getting a first glimpse of the Aurora Borealis but it is still early yet and according to the forecasters as it a little north near Fairbanks. The aurora is actually the glow of solar particles blown into the earth’s magnetic field more than 60 miles above the earth’s surface at speeds up to 35,000 miles per hour.
The streams of charged solar particles surge and bulge along bends in the earth’s magnetic field. As they strike atoms in the earth’s atmosphere, they create greenish-yellow, faint blue, or even blood red curtains of color.
With such a dramatic show of force in the sky, it’s easy to see how some Alaska Native groups believed the lights had serious powers. Some believed the lights were the dancing spirits of children who died at birth. Others thought them spirits of the dead playing ball with a walrus skull. Some believed that whistling at the aurora would cause it to sweep down and take you from earth. Still others carried knives to keep it away.
Have you ever seen the aurora? Where where you and what did you think? I know things like this becomes common place to folks who experience it all the time but sometimes you just have to ‘stop and smell’ the roses because someday you might not get a chance…
I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.
Robert Forto is the host of The Dog Works Radio Show and is the training director of Alaska Dog Works. Robert Forto can be reached through his website at www.alaskadogworks.com