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Perspective: The Green Flash

Green flash, San Francisco, 2006
Brocken Inaglory
via Wikimedia Commons
Green flash, San Francisco, 2006

Driving south in April, I saw spring fast forward as I clicked off the miles down to the Florida panhandle. Leaf count grew on the trees in deepening shades of green, accented by patches of wildflowers. Any reluctance I had felt about missing the slow spring evolution in northern Illinois quickly evaporated when I arrived at the Gulf of Mexico and was able to be outside more than in.

I like setting my internal clock to natural surroundings — checking high and low tide times along with wind speed and direction to optimize my swims, and of course the sunset times for that daily beach ritual.

A while back I heard about the elusive sunset, or sunrise, “green flash” and looked for it numerous times in Michigan over that Great Lake. At my last sunset over the Gulf on this trip, my luck changed, and I wasn’t consciously even looking for it. But in that full second or two immediately after the sun disappeared, there it was - a green light, intense and neon-like. Dramatic though it may sound, I was thrilled.

This sighting ranks up there for me along with eclipses, sun dogs, shooting stars, and even Halley’s Comet, which I got to see in New Zealand in 1986 - natural phenomena that we can observe if we just look up.

I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.

Paula Garrett is a transplanted Southerner and a former WNIJ Blues host. She's passionate about music, travel, research, open water swimming and film.