Hibernation Mode with Sun Dogs

Sun dogs - courtesy WJAR

I’m in hibernation mode with sun dogs, frost, and snow. Yes, I’m still happily house & pet-sitting in central Alberta. My manuscript is expanding nicely, the dogs and I mutually adore one another, and the cats pretend to care. I feed them, they lay on me, but they won’t let me pet them. No stroking of backs for these cats. They curve their spines a quarter inch under my hand no matter how hard I try. 

The glory of sun dogs

A few days ago I decided to brave the weather and drive 1¼ hour east to Wetaskiwin. Highway 13 passes by a number of little lakes not visible from the road due to ice and snow cover, but it was about there that I saw out the car window to the south two huge sun dogs. They were curving pillars (as in the two ends of a thick rainbow with the darkest colors on the inward curve) on either side of a huge, glistening and misted, light source. The sight was magnificent. 

I wanted to stop and photograph the sun dogs, but several things stopped me from pulling over. First, the shoulder of the road isn’t a car width. Second, I had barely enough time to make it to my appointment. And third, my iPhone camera doesn’t have the upgrades of more recent models, so it might not have photographed the ice-crystal rainbows accurately anyway. I reluctantly drove on with no proof of the splendor I had witnessed in the morning sky. 

Good sun dog photos a rare find

I’ve been hunting the Internet for photos of sun dogs to show you what I saw. Yet, only a couple of pictures even approximate the size or intensity of the rainbow colors of my sun dogs.

Sun dogs – courtesy WJAR

My sun dogs were bigger than any of the photos I’ve run across, the colors more intense, and situated closer to the road. Far more glorious! I had the impression that I could have flung my arms around the beautiful pillar if I had just run a few hundred feet into the field.

Sun dogs at Fargo North Dakota – Wikipedia

After viewing dozens of photos, I have learned from this Internet search that what I saw that morning at 9:10 AM was a magnificent and rare phenomenon, truly a privilege.

Myriad types of snow

I’m entranced by the myriad ways in which snow can fall from the sky. Today’s weather has blankets of huge flakes falling episodically. When the bursts subside, snow continues falling in a veil of tiny flakes, steadily, a dry screen of whiteness. It almost resembles rain–except the air is white and intensely cold. 

February dawn near Alder Flats
February dawn through a screen of ice crystals or snow — I can’t tell which.

I’m glad I have no obligations to meet that require me to drive in this weather. Despite this, most days I do take the car out to the highway and back with a few subsequent spins around the yard make the place look lived-in.

I feel increasingly removed from the rest of the world. The Internet connection has been spotty the last few days, so I can’t access the weather forecast or send emails reliably. Texting sometimes works. But I’m not complaining. The silence is a relief, something to sink into, a place for days of dreaming.

Ukrainian architecture on the prairie

Holy Trinity Ukrainian Church in winter sunshine

When traveling to Edmonton recently, I discovered the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Church. Truly a little jewel on the prairie. I’d love to see inside and maybe attend a service.

Loving two big dogs on a sunny day
Loving two big dogs on a sunny day

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