Sun Dogs

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Driving north through brittle air, bright sun behind us. Snow on the ground, as cold as it gets here. Crystal motes float everywhere, an infinite number suspended, cold children of Abraham.

Behind my wife and me, and rising straight up, ascending to glory, a straight rainbow, a rainbow unbowed-a rainbow unbent, and three times too thick. A bow unstrung in heaven’s armory, propped in a celestial corner. Awaiting a battle, who knows what battle? No adequate words. No idea what to call it, no description that fits. No poem to describe it. Monumental and momentary glory, just south of Spokane, a place with zip codes. As though the equivalent of the Grand Canyon just appeared in the sky for just a few moments. No time for a tourist industry to develop. No postcards.

Driving north with my father, a year or so later, we came near that spot in the road. I try to describe it, no name describes it. “Oh, sun dogs,” he said. That’s what his father called them, long ago back in flatland Nebraska, with one on each side of the sun.

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