It’s quite a night outside tonight. One of those dreamlike, rare Shetland evenings that come so infrequently in December. I’ve just come inside after a couple of hours wandering around Skaw drinking it all in.
It’s still and clear out there, with not a breath of wind at ground level. One or two high clouds break an otherwise achingly clear and starry panorama overhead. The stars are piercingly bright. The grass is thick with crunchy white frost, and the lochs are freezing over. I can hear Whooper Swans bugling to one another in the darkness, and the ice creaking and splintering as they wander over it at the lochside.
Every now and again a shooting star blazes in the firmament. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many, nor such bright and long trails in the atmosphere. I’ve been making wishes, naturally. The same one over and over again – as then it surely must come true.
To cap it all, the aurora has been startling and prolonged. I could see hints of it on the drive home north up the spine of Shetland in the late afternoon, and there are still shifting pillars of it even now on the north-east horizon.
It was particularly active mid-evening, so bright it replaced the absent moonlight and lit my way around the croft. Again, later on, but this time the usual greyish-green tones had intensified, and had some strong red, blue and purple elements – more unusual, and particularly beautiful in a photo taken a few hundred yards from the house.