Mystery Lights

In the past we have written about how much we enjoy collective nouns. This is for a few reasons. First, because so many of them are delightfully clever (a paradox of platypus is one of our recent favorites). Second, because they tell us a lot about the history of English and society, in particular the knowledge that was deemed necessary to be a gentleman (see “The Compaynys of Beestys and Fowlys” in the Book of St Albans, a copy of which is now online). And third because once you become aware of them you realize that you have been using them your entire life and perhaps haven’t even noticed them, but once you become aware you can’t stop noticing them. Or at least we can’t. And we were delighted to learn that Everett recently performed a school exercise related to collective nouns.
Now the only thing keeping Chris from reading An Exaltation of Larks with Everett is that it’s in a box somewhere (at least we think it is) and we haven’t been able to find it yet.

We have recently had another experience of noticing something that, in retrospect, has probably been there for some time. Chris was looking east after dark a couple weeks before Christmas and noticed some lights in the hillside across the valley from our house. They were faint but definitely there.
The location of the lights isn’t near any house, and there are no utilities nearby, so it was a bit of a mystery where they were coming from.
He showed them to Everett, and we started checking on them before bed each night. Some nights they were off, and some nights they were on, but they never changed location. Chris used a zoom lens to take a picture of them.
From this they appear to be an unusual pattern of multi-colored strand lights. We came up with all sorts of speculation about their purpose, ranging from simple holiday lights to communication with extraterrestrials. About a week ago on a bright Saturday morning we put the babies in their carriers and hiked up the hill in the snow to investigate. We found a lone pine tree that was loosely draped with colored rope lights that were wired to solar panels on the surrounding trees.
Judging from the discoloration in the plastic we think they must have been there for at least a couple years if not longer. We also deduced, and subsequently observed, that the lights are brightest after a sunny day (due to the higher abundance of solar energy) and that they don’t seem visible after dark, stormy days (which we had several of around Christmas). Mystery partly solved, though we have not yet figured out who put them there. There are probably no aliens involved, but we will keep checking and send updates with any new developments.

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “Mystery Lights

  1. How cool! And lovely that you were able to go find out what the lights were! Some people might prefer the mystery, but I think it’s totally cool to be persistent in research and figure things out. Still neat to look at, but you also have the adventure of discovery.

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