Simultaneous Loss Of Four SensesI have always had a fascination for the night sky. I suppose it was a Cub Scout project originally. You know for your merit badges. I remember getting the books at the library when I was quite young and going out with my older brother to locate the constellations. We learned all the little tricks using the stars as pointers for other stars. finding the zodiac line, keeping track of the rise and fall of planets, and on rare occasions seeing the great milky way brighter than ever. It was such a thrill to have a small telescope which my parents bought secondhand and gave to my brother at Christmas. We would set it up outside at night and spend hours fending off mosquitos, and the chill of the northern night. We often ignored our mother's pleas to come in and go to bed.
When I was about 8yrs old before the first moon landing, we went on a trip to see relatives. We stayed in a pickup camper on stilts that my grandpa had set up for us outside. My brother 10 at the time and I couldn't resist going outside just to see if the sky was the same here as it was at home. We discovered instantaneouly it was not the same. It was magical. I don't even remember raising my head to look up. I almost felt like someone grabbed my scalp and yanked it backwards forcing my nose upward with such force that my lower jaw remained open as well as my eyes.
Above us was a sight we never imaginged we would ever see. We read about it in those often overdue library books but we lived further south than any of our realtives. There it was, Aurora Borealis, and it was nothing like the pictures in the book. All the shimmering curtains of light were not only coming from the northern sky but also from the west, the east, and even the south, from all points between the four directions as well, pointing to a central fixed zenith just slightly to the north of us. I have seen the northern lights later in life but never have I seen them coming from all directions at once converging to a central point. The stars where behind them but they were blocked out by all the intense colors and brightness of these spectacular curtains of light. For that instant in time and for the next hour, I don't remember speaking. I can't remember tasting the sodas that we were drinking, smelling grandpa's cattle in the barn which was right next to our camper. I don't rember hearing anything not even the wind. But worst of all I never felt any of those pesky mosquitoes. We just stood there, in total awe which later proved to be the only time I ever saw them like that in my entire life.
The next day when we woke up we told our parents and grandparents what we saw last night and they didn't believe us. They thought we were just making it up. That is until they saw how bitten up our faces, necks, backs, and arms were by those mosquitoes. Our eyes where the only senses functioning that night. We lost all the others.