Saturday, February 06, 2010


Sundog is a strange name for the optical phenomenon that causes two "ghost" suns to appear to either side of the real one. As sundogs go, this one isn't spectacular in any way. My only interest is that one appeared above my garden mid-morning last weekend (the other one was lost in the trees).

Ancients interpreted such ghostly lights in the sky as signs of something extraordinary. We find only momentary interest, possibly with an understanding this is caused by sunlight refracted by ice crystals in the atmosphere. Still a sense of wonder exists, even if you've seen this before, even if you understand the cause. Why is that? Is it because it's a relatively rare sight? I see it two or three times a year, not so rare. And not nearly as impressive as a full, well defined rainbow.

I think we want to see meaning in any out-of-the-ordinary event. We want to see a sign, a symbol, perhaps a communication. The drive to find a meaning, a story, is an important part of who we are when we have the time and occasion to stop for a moment, think about where we are, and what is around us.


Though we can catch such moments at any time--driving to work, turning to find the source of an unknown sound, catching a moment of quiet on a slow afternoon--the garden's a particularly good place for that.


  1. Interesting thoughts for a winter's evening. I look for and find meaning in most events.

  2. Signs symbols and portents - a way to try and make sense of the world. Sometimes the fact that we now have the scientific knowledge to know what it happening does make us "wonder" less.

    A good reminder to take time out to wonder more



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