The Green Flash

Have you seen the Green Flash?

My son asked me this when we were staying with him on Barbados. I didn’t know what he meant. He explained: ‘Apparently a green flash is seen when the sun is setting, I haven’t seen it.’

So every night I watched the sun set, expecting to see a flash in the sky revealing green hues. O a flash across the ocean reflecting green. But I saw nothing at all as the sun disappeared behind clouds before it set.

Then last week we went to see some friends who live in St Agnes in Cornwall. We decided to have a BBQ on the beach and trundled off with dogs and blankets and food and disposable BBQs. The wind was howling and my friend’s husband became DIY man cum boy scout as he built up a wall of stones to keep off the wind to light the BBQ. The sun was setting – a golden orb in a deep blue sky. No clouds in sight. My friend said: ‘Have you seen the Green Flash?’ I said: ‘No, that was what my son was talking about in Barbados – I thought it was a tropical thing only seen over there.’ ‘No’ she said, ‘You can see it anywhere when the sun is setting apparently, but I haven’t seen it.’

The sun got lower and was disappearing fast over the horizon. It then got completely obilterated by a rock out to sea and we thought that was it. Then the sun appeared again towards the other side of the rock, just a twinkling golden rim getting smaller and smaller on the horizon and then … there it was … as the last vestige of sun disappeared the gold changed to green. Like a green emerald, a dot of green on the horizon for no more than a second and then gone. Nothing. No more sun and the sky was grey and dull and the air cold.

We’d seen it! We’d seen the Green Flash.

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