top of page
andy-holmes-rCbdp8VCYhQ-unsplash_edited_edited.jpg
andy-holmes-rCbdp8VCYhQ-unsplash_edited.jpg
andy-holmes-rCbdp8VCYhQ-unsplash.jpg

Title

The Glow

< Back

written by:

Derekly

andy-holmes-rCbdp8VCYhQ-unsplash_edited.jpg

To this day, nobody knows exactly what happened. People can describe what they saw — or what they remember seeing — but even now one year later little is known about the Glow, the designation attached to the azure blue lights that bathed the world for several tantalizing seconds on June 1, 2023 at 9:28 pm UTC. Ethereal ribbons different shades of blue danced across our field of vision, and for that moment, a transitory aura shrouded all that is observable regardless of time, place, and circumstance. The commander of HMS Anchor, a Royal Navy ballistic submarine cruising 275 meters below sea level, marveled at the blue seemingly spilling from outside the hull into his navigation bridge. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station recalled their view of deep space that day had never reminded them so much of their home’s vast ocean blue. With omnipresent reach, the Glow touched the masses, even those asleep, intoxicated, or otherwise unconscious; they all woke grasping a dream, so intensely vivid they had trouble demarcating it from waking life, the distinguishing factor and only common denominator amongst them — a universal blue tint. And then it vanished, with no more explanation than when it came. Evanescent, subtle, yet enduring nonetheless.


Except for minor variances, most described their experience of the Glow as the realization they were seeing the world through a pulsating blue filter. Though vibrant in retrospect, the intrusion of the Glow at the time wasn’t jarring or disconcerting; it settled on our awareness with the comfort and ease of a crimson-hued leaf landing on fall foliage. We accepted its familiarity as if droplets of blue had been gradually added to the fabric of reality, acclimating us throughout time until a faint whisper snapped our collective consciousness awake when it asked, “isn’t the world less blue than before?”


Yes. Why? Wait, the world was blue? Yes.


And then we panicked.


The Glow, or more accurately its abrupt absence, left us stunned, reeling from the implications. Speculation ran rampant, mutating with each transmission and the contagion of an internet-borne social media-fed virus. Was the government involved? Was it aliens? A science experiment, a biological attack, an eldritch curse, a global hallucination? Did the rapture finally arrive and find every soul wanting? Everybody and their mother had theories. Nobody had evidence solid enough to survive even a modicum of inquiry. Message boards flooded with people asking questions, demanding answers, and providing little. Government responses varied, but confusion and fear spread throughout all echelons of order.  Developing nations, still grappling with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, reached out to allies abroad for help and information. Their recovery from the pandemic was already not guaranteed, another crisis would collapse their country. But this was no pandemic. A collapse wasn’t imminent but the potential threat still loomed in the backdrop with great prejudice. Developed nations, accustomed to leveraging their abundant resources, armies, and treatises on the global stage, found they were again facing an adversary they could not negotiate with. Arrogance fueled their apprehension and drove them into a fog of paranoia — the worst-case scenario was an attack and they prepared accordingly. But the only attack was on their pride. Their conviction on where they stood in this universe irreparably injured. Task forces formed to uncover the truth, each eventually devolving into glorified group chats filled with officials scrolling through online conspiracies. Misinformation disseminated almost faster than the Glow itself. Every news station covered the same story that week, but airtime quickly waned with subsequent segments as developments stagnated and every talking head spat out some iteration of, “we still do not know what the fuck just happened.” There were no experts, only the bewildered and deluded. Like ancient civilizations witnessing their first solar eclipse, we watched the Glow with unbridled awe, clinging to ignorance and tools too primitive to even capture what was happening.


Film crews and content creators worldwide recording during the Glow scrambled to their phones and cameras to replay the video they had taken. Nothing. The world exactly as they knew it except for a moment of awakened silence followed by confusion. Opportunists mired themselves in controversy by attempting to fabricate the Glow with computer graphics leading to the viral trend of feigning confusing through a blue filter with the hashtag “#Blued”. Doctors, neurologists, and psychiatrists worldwide studied millions of patients, finding minimal or insignificant changes to the body or psyche, with no discernable pattern and nothing to suggest a remnant of the Glow. Scientists and researchers rushed to their respective machines checking for anomalous readings. Astronomers explored the possibility of a cosmic source passing through Earth. Microbiologists wondered if a prehistoric virus was released from the melting ice caps. Physicists theorized a new form of power and began to reexamine fundamental models of energy and matter. The list goes on, but irrespective of discipline, department, and budget, the result was the same: nothing, absolute acceptance of the null hypothesis. Everything and everyone came up short, almost everything. The greatest minds, conspiracy theorists, and commoners in between obsessed over an explanation, only to converge on a common frustration— the impracticability of studying an event that so completely disappeared without a trace.


Well, not exactly without a trace. It nudged our reality one millimeter to the left loosening our grip on it, a tiny, almost insignificant amount, but enough to leave an indelible blemish on what we were holding. Most people learned to ignore the blemish. They moved on with their life and turn their attention to more immediate matters, the next electoral scandal, the next viral trend, the next controversial tweet by a controversial figure. A testament to our ability to adjust to any reality. Monday morning coffees tasted the same. The sun still warmed their skin and cast familiar shadows across the pavement. Days passed interacting with strangers disregarding the sonder of it all. However, for a select few, that blemish turned into a stain. And that stain began to grow. Who else breathed the same air of malaise? Low murmurs of unknown tongues hushed in the shadows. Unrecognizable silhouettes disappearing upon a second glance. And for a few of us, Monday morning coffees started to taste like lukewarm sink water from the bathroom of a dead-end job on a slow Wednesday afternoon. Nothing changed, but nothing felt the same.


One year later, some of us know the world had changed. Just not everyone had caught on yet.

To this day, nobody knows exactly what happened. People can describe what they saw — or what they remember seeing — but even now one year later little is known about the Glow, the designation attached to the azure blue lights that bathed the world for several tantalizing seconds on June 1, 2023 at 9:28 pm UTC. Ethereal ribbons different shades of blue danced across our field of vision, and for that moment, a transitory aura shrouded all that is observable regardless of time, place, and circumstance. The commander of HMS Anchor, a Royal Navy ballistic submarine cruising 275 meters below sea level, marveled at the blue seemingly spilling from outside the hull into his navigation bridge. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station recalled their view of deep space that day had never reminded them so much of their home’s vast ocean blue. With omnipresent reach, the Glow touched the masses, even those asleep, intoxicated, or otherwise unconscious; they all woke grasping a dream, so intensely vivid they had trouble demarcating it from waking life, the distinguishing factor and only common denominator amongst them — a universal blue tint. And then it vanished, with no more explanation than when it came. Evanescent, subtle, yet enduring nonetheless.


Except for minor variances, most described their experience of the Glow as the realization they were seeing the world through a pulsating blue filter. Though vibrant in retrospect, the intrusion of the Glow at the time wasn’t jarring or disconcerting; it settled on our awareness with the comfort and ease of a crimson-hued leaf landing on fall foliage. We accepted its familiarity as if droplets of blue had been gradually added to the fabric of reality, acclimating us throughout time until a faint whisper snapped our collective consciousness awake when it asked, “isn’t the world less blue than before?”


Yes. Why? Wait, the world was blue? Yes.


And then we panicked.


The Glow, or more accurately its abrupt absence, left us stunned, reeling from the implications. Speculation ran rampant, mutating with each transmission and the contagion of an internet-borne social media-fed virus. Was the government involved? Was it aliens? A science experiment, a biological attack, an eldritch curse, a global hallucination? Did the rapture finally arrive and find every soul wanting? Everybody and their mother had theories. Nobody had evidence solid enough to survive even a modicum of inquiry. Message boards flooded with people asking questions, demanding answers, and providing little. Government responses varied, but confusion and fear spread throughout all echelons of order.  Developing nations, still grappling with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, reached out to allies abroad for help and information. Their recovery from the pandemic was already not guaranteed, another crisis would collapse their country. But this was no pandemic. A collapse wasn’t imminent but the potential threat still loomed in the backdrop with great prejudice. Developed nations, accustomed to leveraging their abundant resources, armies, and treatises on the global stage, found they were again facing an adversary they could not negotiate with. Arrogance fueled their apprehension and drove them into a fog of paranoia — the worst-case scenario was an attack and they prepared accordingly. But the only attack was on their pride. Their conviction on where they stood in this universe irreparably injured. Task forces formed to uncover the truth, each eventually devolving into glorified group chats filled with officials scrolling through online conspiracies. Misinformation disseminated almost faster than the Glow itself. Every news station covered the same story that week, but airtime quickly waned with subsequent segments as developments stagnated and every talking head spat out some iteration of, “we still do not know what the fuck just happened.” There were no experts, only the bewildered and deluded. Like ancient civilizations witnessing their first solar eclipse, we watched the Glow with unbridled awe, clinging to ignorance and tools too primitive to even capture what was happening.


Film crews and content creators worldwide recording during the Glow scrambled to their phones and cameras to replay the video they had taken. Nothing. The world exactly as they knew it except for a moment of awakened silence followed by confusion. Opportunists mired themselves in controversy by attempting to fabricate the Glow with computer graphics leading to the viral trend of feigning confusing through a blue filter with the hashtag “#Blued”. Doctors, neurologists, and psychiatrists worldwide studied millions of patients, finding minimal or insignificant changes to the body or psyche, with no discernable pattern and nothing to suggest a remnant of the Glow. Scientists and researchers rushed to their respective machines checking for anomalous readings. Astronomers explored the possibility of a cosmic source passing through Earth. Microbiologists wondered if a prehistoric virus was released from the melting ice caps. Physicists theorized a new form of power and began to reexamine fundamental models of energy and matter. The list goes on, but irrespective of discipline, department, and budget, the result was the same: nothing, absolute acceptance of the null hypothesis. Everything and everyone came up short, almost everything. The greatest minds, conspiracy theorists, and commoners in between obsessed over an explanation, only to converge on a common frustration— the impracticability of studying an event that so completely disappeared without a trace.


Well, not exactly without a trace. It nudged our reality one millimeter to the left loosening our grip on it, a tiny, almost insignificant amount, but enough to leave an indelible blemish on what we were holding. Most people learned to ignore the blemish. They moved on with their life and turn their attention to more immediate matters, the next electoral scandal, the next viral trend, the next controversial tweet by a controversial figure. A testament to our ability to adjust to any reality. Monday morning coffees tasted the same. The sun still warmed their skin and cast familiar shadows across the pavement. Days passed interacting with strangers disregarding the sonder of it all. However, for a select few, that blemish turned into a stain. And that stain began to grow. Who else breathed the same air of malaise? Low murmurs of unknown tongues hushed in the shadows. Unrecognizable silhouettes disappearing upon a second glance. And for a few of us, Monday morning coffees started to taste like lukewarm sink water from the bathroom of a dead-end job on a slow Wednesday afternoon. Nothing changed, but nothing felt the same.


One year later, some of us know the world had changed. Just not everyone had caught on yet.

Canon #

1

bottom of page