What The Sun Dogs Mean

It has been a long silence here on the blog. A long silence indeed. The reasons are many, not the least of which is moving back overseas, but tonight, as I have internet access, I pull a entry from the archive that never made it to posting. (A little bit of winter love for those of you who still are waiting for spring to fully come.)


This last week, the sun has been rising as I drive my oldest son to school in the morning. As we drive down the back alley, the sky is awash with pinks and purple-y grey hues. As we return, the colours have reached a crescendo and quickly fade. It is enough to make me leave a few minutes early, early so I am pulling back into our back alley before the fade, back in time to see the sky at the brightest point, back to put on the brakes and breath in beauty. At supper, as I scrape dishes and rinse and load the dishwasher, the sky to the right of our house is aflame. I love our house for this reason. Even if the whole place fell apart, I think I’d still be left standing on our deck, watching the wide-expanse of open sky and the way its rhythms paint my days.


Last week was frigid. Enough to see sundogs, days in a row. And I’d run out, camera in hand.


In the middle of the cold week with dramatic skies, I read a blog post (and if I had any memory or posted this when I wrote it, I would have a lovely little link for you), where the author says, “To be beautiful, fill yourself with beauty.” And I have felt so small, with such a shrivelled heart, that I hope by standing under these wide skies, wide-mouthed, that my heart may open a bit, rehydrate.


A friend sent me an email at the beginning of this year. “My watchword for the year” he said, “is beauty. I see that in you”. I ached. Wondered what sort of word there might be when things ahead feel as cold as the Prairie outdoors.


I want to teach my children to love beauty. I want them to learn from me how to stop, slack-jawed with wonder. I want them to see in me a tenacity, resilience, a stubborn pursuit of what is whole and good and right even when it means tearing hard realities into the tiniest pieces to find something of beauty.

So one of these sun-rise mornings, I pull my two-year old out of the car and set him just beyond the open garage door.

“The angels help Jesus paint the sky,” he says smiling. He looks out over the field and turns to me crestfallen, “But the sun is broken.”


“Oh Sweetie,” I reply. “The sun isn’t broken. We just can’t see all of it because it hasn’t come up yet.”

“Oh,” comes the reply, his voice small with hope. We stand there a few minutes longer before the cold chases us inside.




Day after day, the sun rises still, even if for a time it looks broken.

On the coldest days, it is crowned with rainbows, interrupted by bursts of light.