February 23rd, 2007

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Good Morning!!

The sky is blue and the day is bright.  I just received an email with a picture of a dog who kissed a fireman who rescued her and her puppies.  Sweet!!

And the day feels sweet!!     Happiness, joy, peace, and ease to You!!
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Another "awwww" story for the day -

A Dog's Purpose, from a 4-year-old

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?"

The four-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

I don't know where this story comes from.   It was a forward but it works for me.

I have been sitting working on "the book."  It is a fun place, the refining part,  at least for this section and I am enjoying it, and I am thinking about living like a dog.  I guess "a dog's life" really is the way to go.   Bella raises her head, and says,  "What about me?"  She and Tiger have it figured out too.   Here is to joy and learning from animals.

I am reading a book - big surprise - Modoc by Ralph Helfer.  It is a story about a boy and an elephant.   Read it and  breathe!!
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Gratitude -

In going through the "book," I see how grateful I was and am.   Therefore it is a delight when these words come to me today.


"Gratitude is heaven itself. "

- William Blake

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Smiles in the sky -

The photo didn't come through, but it is a beautiful upside down rainbow, a smile in the sky.  

A sight as elusive as a Cheshire cat

Photographer spots rare heavenly arc


No, this isn't an upside-down rainbow, and the photographer hasn't faked the picture. It's an unusual phenomenon caused by sunlight shining through a thin, invisible screen of tiny ice crystals high in the sky and has nothing at all to do with the rain.

Andrew G. Saffas, a Concord artist and photographer, saw the colorful arc at 3:51 p.m. on a beautiful day recently when a slight rain had fallen in the morning. He thought it was a rainbow, created by raindrops refracting sunlight the way glass prisms refract any bright beam of light.

Instead, what Saffas saw was what scientists call a circumzenithal arc, according to physicist Joe Jordan, a former NASA space scientist at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View, who is now director of the Sky Power Institute in Santa Cruz, which promotes solar power and other alternative fuels.

The flat, six-sided ice crystals that cause the arcs are no larger than salt grains and usually form in the cold haze of wispy cirrus clouds about 5 miles up, said Jordan, who viewed the image shot by Saffas. In the far north, zenithal arcs are more common than rainbows, but here in the Bay Area's more moderate climate they are rare, even in winter.

When the sun is low in the afternoon sky on a hazy day -- even though the sky appears bright blue -- sunlight can hit the flat face of the ice particles at a slant. Then the rays bend within each crystal and emerge with the colors appearing separated into all the rainbow colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

But, said Jordan, the colors in those arcs appear in the opposite position from the colors in rainbows: In zenithal arcs, as in Saffas' image, the red hues are on the bottom and the blue and violet are on the top. The arcs appear to terminate where the millions of ice crystals end, he said.

"The arcs are like a Cheshire cat grin," Jordan said, "and they vanish just the same way."

But the one Saffas saw Jan. 13 lasted at least an hour, he said -- plenty of time for him grab his Nikon D70 camera and shoot away.

"We were having a huge family party, and everyone had stepped out on our deck," Saffas said, "when I saw this strange arc right overhead in the sky. It was a beautiful day, the sun was sinking behind the two tall redwoods in our yard, and the colors in what I thought was a rainbow upside down were absolutely brilliant."

Alexandre Andronikos of Portland, who was at the party, vividly recalled "the fantastic sight."

"Oh, my God, look up at the sky!" she remembers calling to everyone. "I never saw anything like it in my life, and we all ran into the house to grab our cameras. Mine is a Sony digital, and I got some wonderful pictures, too."

Saffas, who is 85 and a retired bank loan officer, has always been devoted to his painting and sculpture. More than 50 years ago, he said, he was hired to paint murals during the renovation of the fabled Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, now the home of the American Cinematheque. He still paints and sculpts, he said, but he's also an avid photographer.

Les Cowley, a retired physicist in England, maintains a Web site on atmospheric optics filled with incredible images and explanations of displays in the sky that most of us have never seen: supernumerary arcs, halos, sundogs, fogbows, glories, holy lights, green flashes and more. The Web site is www.atoptics.co.uk/