Conversations in the Compound

Last night all started with the lights going out right around sunset. So I went outside to hang out with the family. I sat down and we just started talking. Then somehow it was decided that I should try to pound fufu. So I did and it was pretty fun. That fufu pounder is really heavy!

The sun finally sets and it starts to get darker. The moon comes out, but the clouds are covering it in a light film. So the light coming from the moon is veiled. There are high spotty clouds out, but peeking through the clouds, the stars come out. They twinkle more here than in Oklahoma. I don’t recognize any constellations. The weather is just about perfect, no breeze, mid to high 70s. It is simply a beautiful night. 

The 11 year old boy, Enoch, comes and sits next to me and we talk about wonderful things. He tells me that his friends in school say that Oklahoma is the most beautiful state in America. I explain to him why Washington and Oregon are much prettier. We discuss why Americans like to look at the stars. He asks me about cars in America, he heard they are made of clay. I keep looking back at the stars and moon because it is mesmerizing tonight. He asks me if I can travel to the moon. If I’m allowed to.

I see the stars twinkling and there is one in particular that keeps changing from white to red and back. It reminds me of the Northern Lights. I’m sure he has never heard of the Northern Lights. Now, take a minute and think very hard about this:

How would you explain the Northern Lights to someone in a different culture, using very basic English?

I was determined to explain the Northern Lights in a way that would capture it accurately. It was extremely difficult to explain. I looked at the sky and gestured to a large space. I told him to imagine beautiful colors, greens, reds, yellows, oranges, all of the colors waving in the sky. The Northern Lights is like a river of color that dances and flows across the sky. We both just stared at the sky imaging the Aurora Borealis in front of us.

Enoch turns to me and asks: “who discovered color?”

I smiled and said “I don’t know.” And we sat in silence for some moments just staring at the sky.


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