On August 9, 1995, the day Jerry Garcia passed away, impromptu gatherings took place all over the world. As word of the passing of the great genius behind “our band” spread, people just naturally came together, to mourn, and to pay tribute. In my town of Seattle, Washington, Deadheads gravitated to Seattle Center, to gather and console each other, and to dance to Grateful Dead music on the Horiuchi Mural Amphitheater lawn.
It was a warm, dry, sunny Seattle evening. I chanced to look up, and I noticed there were “sun dogs” all over the sky. They appeared as little curved arcs of prismatic color. (Sun dogs happen when it is not raining; they are created when the sun’s rays shine through cirrus, or ice crystal, clouds.) The sun dogs resembled “smiles” in the sky. One young man remarked, “Look! Jerry is smiling down on us!”
There were newspaper photographers in attendance, who were taking pictures of those of us who were gathered together. I approached one, and said, “Look up! Take a picture of that!”. He didn’t. Well, I did. Here it is. Jerry was smiling.
Two photos from later that night:
August 9, 2020 update: this evening, right around the same hour I attended Jerry’s impromptu memorial on August 9, 1995, I went for a walk in the same Queen Anne neighborhood. Twenty-five years having passed, I felt I should go look for a sundog. — Well, I didn’t find one; but I felt Jerry’s spirit accompanying me on my walk, along with that of my late, beloved wife, who took the above photo of me, so long ago. Sally Jo passed in 2015. It’s rough being without two of the most amazing people who ever walked the Earth. But I was chosen to survive — to remember, and to carry their love into the future, in their stead.