Friday, November 16, 2007

Halo Effect

This morning, I felt stressed out. This stemmed from packing to travel to Georgia to move my mother into assisted living, while having more than plenty to do in Houston. My mother might have picked a worse year to manifest the symptoms of Alzheimer's. She also could have picked a better one, as far as my own life is concerned.

Stressed out, I resorted to the very brief but exquisite order of individual morning prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. Felt slightly better. Then dragged a basket of dirty clothes out through my front door toward the apartment laundry room. And saw a sundog in the southern sky.

It pushed the reset button on my outlook on life.

A sundog or parhelion is a bright rainbow patch in the sky not far from the sun. Houston is long way from Antarctica, which is the best place in the world for the sundogs, solar halos, tangent arcs, and other optical phenomena that stem from ice crystals in the daytime sky. But I notice these phenomena rather often. And they delight me every time. This morning was the first time I had a digital camera handy. Here is a sundog, above, and to the right a halo with what may be a blurred tangent arc (the brighter blob at the top of the halo.)

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