I woke at 11:45 p.m. yesterday and looked out my window. A long, wide, white beam stretched across the sky.

The lights! The lights! As I threw back the comforter and my bare feet hit the wood floor, my mind was reeling.

Call Ed and Kathy. I had promised my friends I’d call them the next time I saw the lights. They’ve been in Alaska since July and haven’t seen them yet.

No, wait. Verify. Maybe it’s just a cloud….or a moonbeam. The moon was so bright last night. I looked outside, afraid the lights might have vanished. Still there.

I threw on a down vest and ran outside to the deck. It’s a cloud. No, it’s the lights. No, it’s too white and too big to be the lights. Must be clouds. Maybe weather moving in.

Then a faint pulse of green. It’s the lights.

I ran inside and started fumbling for my cell phone. Where is it? Next to my bed. No. In my purse. No. Downstairs on the kitchen table? While I was searching madly for my phone, I kept looking out the window to make sure I wasn’t not hallucinating. Still there, and growing.

I called Ed’s cell phone. I got voice mail. “Ed, the lights are out! The lights are out!” I sounded like an Alaskan Paul Revere trumpeting the arrival of the aurora borealis.

I slipped my feet into boots and returned to the deck. I called Ed again. Left another voice mail. I debated. I knew how much they wanted to see the lights. I called Kathy’s cell phone. She answered. She sounded wide awake.

“Yes, Cheryl. Thanks. We’re watching. It’s amazing.”

I stood outside and watched the lights morph and dance for a good half hour. Sometimes the misty white trails were so long and wide they  arched across the entire sky. There were pulses of green, like cosmic heartbeats in the center of the shifting white vapors.

Then one magical band broke away and fluttered and waved like a falling ribbon. It was white with a hint of green near the bottom of the band, trimmed with a crimson red edge.

I find myself searching for words to describe the raw, enchanting beauty of that ribbon of light and color. It’s as if my mind can’t quite grasp the magnificence and the glory.

I know how I feel. Giddy. And grateful.