Most days, I'm the only person I know who sees them. My children see them, but only when I'm in the car to point them out, and my passengers are always quick to instruct me to keep my eyes on the road. They'll never be natural skywatchers like my father was. They claim I see sun dogs only because no one but me looks into the sun.
My father flew weather reconnaisance heading into a typhoon during World War Two, and we always had in common our fascination with the skies. Toward the end of his life, he struggled with dementia, but I urgently wanted to share the vision of a parhelion with him. I'd call him when I spotted one, wherever I was, and ask him to look out the window. The parhelion doesn't last very long. Evanescent, ephemeral, a sun dog holds its short-lived candle to the sun. My father, who wasn't so steady on his feet by that time, couldn't get to the right place at the right time to see one. He died before we shared that vision.
My father learned in the Navy at age seventeen to toss a pinch of spilled salt over his shoulder to ward off bad luck. One the other hand, he was one of the most rational, logical people I've ever known. He couldn't believe what his eyes did not tell him about parhelia. But all the reason in the world won't nullify the existence of a sun dog. It doesn't matter how many people can't, don't, or won't see it--there it is.
I was the one with the blessing--or from another point of veiw, the burden--of seeing sun dogs. But now my father has the advantage over me. A sun dog is only a sliver of the sky, and God's love is so much larger than all the heavens. Now my father's vision is so much improved over mine.