Thursday, March 28, 2013

moon dogs

Last night, my husband told me the sky looked funny. I was half asleep when he told me this, so I couldn't be bothered to get dressed and out of bed to see what he was talking about.  It's funny, eh, how quickly you get used to wonderful things. Oh, look, the Milky Way in the sky. Oh, look, the northern lights. Whatever.

Luckily I had a chance to see it again tonight. It wasn't the northern lights; the sky was cloudy and the moon was full so there was no chance of us being able to see them.  Instead, it seemed like the ice crystals in the air was reflecting all the lights in town and shooting them straight up like laser beams or light sabres.

It was a pretty cool and magical effect. It was like nature was displaying its own Christmas lights, but much, much, much better than Chevy Chase ever could in a family movie. And in March.

 Then I saw the moon.

moon dog

The moisture in the sky was making the full moon particularly brilliant, but I wondered if the halo I saw around the moon was an illusionary glare from my living room window. I threw on my Canada Goose coat and went outside. It wasn't glare from the window glass.  It was, I realized, a moon dog.

When I was in undergrad in Ottawa, my friends and I used to eat at this dive called the Moon Dog Grill, located just outside campus in Sandy Hill. We liked to eat there not because the food was amazing, but because the prices were cheap, which is what students care about.  I only bring this up because the countless number of times I ate there, I never stopped to wonder what a moon dog was. I'd never even heard of moon dogs before, up until I saw it up in the Arctic sky...and then went inside to look it up on Google.

 According to Wikipedia, moon dogs are exactly analogous to sun dogs, which I sometimes see outside my office window, but more rare. They are just as beautiful, the rainbows barely discernible to the naked eye, as though you're catching a glimpse of promise rings that God has put on things in the sky.

It kind of looks like a reflection that the camera has caught on the lens, but that spot of light in the sky is actually what we see with the naked eye

sun dog

I guess these interesting nighttime sights have been happening because the weather has been warming up lately. I use the term "warming up" in a relative sense. It's -30 these days, instead of the usual -50, which I used to find so cold. But now -30 feels like spring. I take off my snowpants and walk to work. The kids celebrate the warm weather by playing out on the playground in the park. We park our cars outside and don't bother plugging it in.

These days, the sun has been rising close to 6AM and setting around 8PM.  It's only March. Soon we won't be seeing much night time around here, which will be an odd feeling. I've always loved the sun, but I think it'll be weird, without night.  I've realized it means we won't be seeing the northern lights.  It'll be interesting to see what new surprises instead the world up here has to show me.