Sunday, May 30, 2010

Walking The Sun Dog

This morning, before the acidity of java burned through my brain-fog, I wondered what in the world to write about. It turns out that I'm scribbling about something not of this world, at least to a degree. Ever hear of a sun dog? It's a solar phenomenon caused by sunlight refracting through ice crystals in cirrus clouds, creating a second sun, halo, or patch of rainbow-colored light. Sound boring, like something out of your high-school science book? Believe me, it's not boring at all. Imagine looking into the sky and finding a swatch of rainbow suspended there. Better yet, a complete circle of light, colors prismed around it, a friend to share it with, witness that your neurons didn't hiccup your wild days of experimenting with mind-altering wantoness.

Since the first time I saw a sun dog, I've always kept watch for more. It's a reminder to me that the world is a place full of interesting things, that earth is only the beginning in finding them, and that when we do, they can change us in unexpected ways.
One afternoon, sitting in traffic and impatient to get home, I remembered about sun dogs, looked up and sure enough found one, a beautifuly bright one. I looked around to see if anyone else saw it. No, not one person had their neck crooked up, no smile spread on their face. What a shame. This was too good not to share. I looked to my left, to the car beside me- a middle aged guy, starched shirt, pensive expression. I thought, no, this guy wouldn't give a rats' pitootee about a splotch of light in the sky. Likely, he would ingore me at best, give me a dirty look at worst.
But then, I took a chance. I just had to share this with someone, open the door for anyone to see beauty in the natural world. We do spend too much time with our gadgets, hurrying into cubicles of work and home and solitude.
I rolled down my window, lightly tapped my horn. I got his attention, smiled and pointed to the sky. To my suprise, he did look. And then he smiled. He no longer was the middle-aged guy balding in his stiff shirt, mouth down-turned to the world. He became more of himself. At least that's what I like to think. He rolled down his window, asked me what in the world that thing was. When I told him, I had the feeling he was going to go home and look it up, that he may start to watch the sky as well. I also had the feeling that he didn't see me as only someone in painter's whites, driving a beat up truck that had long lost its shine.
The light changed. Time to move on.
It's a wonderful thing to have one's faith in nature to change us proved in unexpected ways.


  1. Sun dogs are quite magical. Nice to see someone writing about them. Great story.

  2. Thank you. Glad you liked the story. I'm always excited each and every time I see one. With the right kind of sunglasses, you can see colors tinted along the edges of clouds near the sun. But do be careful not to fry your eyes. I'm guessing it has to do with certain light rays made visible to our eyes through polarization. No matter the science, it's beautiful, ethereal.

  3. My eyes are now skyward, looking for the magic that you saw. And yes, it's always better to share it with someone, stranger or friend. I'll bet the middle-aged balding guy will never forget your gesture of friendship.

  4. Cool beans Ron. You won't be disappointed when you see one.

  5. i like the idea of you wearing sundogglasses. what's also just as cool is the way you shared the sight with the stranger. that warms my heart. makes me feel brave.

  6. Sundogglasses- yes! Love that concept. I just had a visual of wearing a funky-looking pair of sunglasses, swirls of color reflecting from the sky onto the lenses, a smile spread like butter across my face.