“I hate this world!” It’s a phrase my now-6-year-old began saying a few years ago. His little brother picked it up around 2, even before he had a clue what it meant, and as a 3-year-old, has taken it on as his mantra whenever things don’t go his way. “I HATE this woild!” he exclaims with a tone of great disappointment and a downward-curled lower lip. It’s hard not to smile inside, hearing the sweet imperfections of his speech, knowing he still doesn’t have a clue what he’s saying; that he’s simply expressing disappointment, a borrowed expression he’s heard stated with the same tone he wants to convey. Instead of letting his rather startling pronouncement rattle me too much, however, I whisper a silent promise to myself: Let it be my mission in life to show our children that the world, instead of deserving our sentiments of hatred, should reap our admiration.
We can go through our days searching for the dark clouds. Certainly, we’ll easily find them. Or we can move through our days seeking out that which delights. Those things, too, are constantly in our midst. Like the sundog that brightened the horizon this morning on a drive to a Girl Scout event. I’ll admit, I might have missed it myself if it hadn’t been so abundantly visible. “Hey, down there. Look at me. Look at me!” it seemed to shout. At first, I saw only one edge of it. “Look at the sky,” I said to my daughter. “What is it, a rainbow?” she inquired. And then, as I squinted to make out its whole, I knew with certainty what I was witnessing. “No, it’s a sundog. Cool, I love those! Have you ever seen one before?” “A sundog? What’s a sundog?” “Well,” I started, uncertain how to explain it, “it’s something that happens when it’s both very cold and sunny outside, but I’m not exactly sure what causes it.” And so we just gazed at the spectacle-in-the-sky the rest of the short trip.
When I returned home, I captured this shot of its round edges gleaming on either side of a large tree in our neighborhood, the sun itself hiding behind pine. I came inside then to look up the meaning of sundog on Wikipedia: A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion, plural parhelia, for “beside the sun”) is a common bright circular spot on a solar halo. It is an atmospheric optical phenomenon primarily associated with the reflection or refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals making up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Often, two sun dogs can be seen (one on each side of the sun) simultaneously.
Ironically, one of the main photos on the Wikipedia entry was shot in, of all places, Fargo, North Dakota. Yes, it’s true, North Dakota can get mighty chilly in the wintertime, but did you know that it is also one of the sunniest states alone the northern border of our country? A scenario well suited for the most spectacular of sundogs. I have a friend who works for a company here called Sundog, and I’m beginning to see how they chose their name.
A tiny bit of trivia, a wee wisp of wisdom, but most of all, wishes that you readers have a happy sundog day!