Looking Up


The faint iridescence you see in this cloud is called a sundog, which occurs when ice crystals shaped like hexagonal prisms refract sunlight.  These ice crystals are contained in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Sundogs happen mostly when the sun is low (at sunrise or sunset).  I took this photograph from my front yard a couple of hours before sunset.  As sundogs go, this one is pretty run-of-the-mill, but there’s something to be said for the happy serendipity of looking up to see something like this while you’re engaged in an ordinary task like watering the flowers.

And speaking of serendipity, while Googling “sundog,” I was clicking around when I found a website that made me laugh out loud with delight. (Sometimes, for me, looking up something on the Internet is like looking up a word in the dictionary. You know how it is: you go to find out if “folio” has the same derivation as “foliage,” and before you know it, you’re lost in the “F’s.”   Fogbow…Foehn….Foison…) 

Anyway, my vote for one of the Best Sites I Found While Looking For Something Else goes to the The Cloud Appreciation Society, who fight valiantly “the banality of ‘blue-sky thinking.’”  I’m generally not much of a joiner of clubs (mostly because I’m such an oddball, it’s hard to find a place where I fit in).  But I’d like to wear the badge of The Cloud Appreciation Society, if they’ll have me.  Check out their Manifesto and the Cloud Gallery.  I hope to capture a cloud soon that might be worthy of their Gallery.

Thank you, Cloud Appreciation Society.  I hereby pledge to “fight ‘blue-sky thinking.’”  And to look up at the clouds every day and “marvel at their ephemeral beauty.”


Looking up from my front yard.


Looking up from my back yard.


6 Responses to “Looking Up”

  1. June Says:

    Wonderful photos. When I was a kid (chronologically) I used to lie around in the grass and stare up at the clouds for hours, oftentimes finding pictures of things in them. Nice memory…perhaps I’ll get to doing it again!

  2. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    You already HAVE photographed clouds worthy of their gallery. Beautiful pictures, Beth, just beautiful. Serendipitous that you write about sundogs when I have just been thinking about sun dogs myself. I felt foolish about doing it immediately after having published another Wiki Wednesday, so I left it as a draft, hidden from the world. When I read your wonderful post, I went back and published it … so it is the third post below the one you read about my mother at Alzheimer’s Camp. Here’s the link:

  3. wesleyjeanne Says:

    Beth–You had me looking up all afternoon. Walking around the track with my Dad, I saw my own sundog. I wouldn’t have known what to call it but for your blog. I love the clouds, too, especially since we’ve been in drought!
    Beautiful. Your blog is already my favorite.

  4. Shannon Hodgins Says:

    I want to camp in your front yard. Amazing pictures! Shannon

  5. colleen Says:

    I’ve never seen a sundog, I don’t think. There were some unbelievable crystal ice formations on the Parkway once (called something like Hoars ice?). I also love clouds. Mostly since my brother Jim died. He was a self-taught weatherman who kept records, took photos, and followed storms. Here’s ome clouds I posted before http://www.looseleafnotes.com/notes/2006/12/things_are_looking_up.html

  6. ben (aka guitar maniac) Says:

    This is an excellent creed! We shall uphold it as bloodbrothers (or sisters) until clouds are no more!

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