Rainbow Connection

downloadThe storm came in quickly. A typical late summer afternoon thunderstorm, powered by thick heat and humidity. The clouds rolled in, trees twitched and swayed and the heavens opened to release torrents of rain. The temperature dropped, dropped, dropped. Ahhhhhh!

Safe inside, we watched the rain pattern the windows and splatter the earth. I puttered about in the kitchen, hoping the storm would last long enough to soak the parched gardens.

About 15 minutes later, dinner was just about ready and the downfall was easing. Rays of sunlight pierced the clouds from the western sky, transforming rain droplets to crystals.

“Oh! Look! There’s got to be a rainbow out there!” I announced. “I’m going to see.” I quickly dumped the gnocchi in the colander, and turned off all the burners.

“I’ll look out front,” Lydia called as I raced out the garden door, headed to the driveway. Both of us were heedless of the falling rain, busily scanning the skies.

Wait….is that one? No…. Over there? Just over the trees? The faintest tint of color at the top of an arch? Yes? YES!

“I see one!” I shouted. “There’s a rainbow! You can barely see it, just over the trees!”

Lydia rushed over to join me in the driveway and I pointed.

“Oooh!”

“I’m driving down to the river to see if I can see it better there,” I announced. “Want to come?”

“Sure! I’ll see if Sophie does, too.”

Within a minute or two, we’d dropped everything. I had double checked that the burners were off, thrown a dishtowel over the steaming gnocchi, and grabbed my camera.  Dinner could wait. The three of us jumped in the car and headed down the driveway.

As soon as we turned onto the road, our view opened up and we saw it.

“Look! Look! There it is!”

The sky was lit with the full arc of a rainbow, the colors dazzling and bright. We chattered excitedly, pointing as the rainbow shimmered and glowed.

“It’s so bright! I’ve never seen one so bright!”

“Wait! There’s another one! See! It’s really faint but it’s there! Oh my gosh!  It’s a double rainbow!”

We continued down to the river, making admiring comments all the while.

We pulled into the parking lot at the river park, and jumped out to join several others who were there, heads angled toward the sky, cameras snapping. Everyone was smiling.

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After several moments and several pictures, I looked back to realize my car was parked haphazardly, halfway in a spot, halfway in the middle of the lot. I looked around and noticed other cars similarly situated. I pointed this out to another spectator (and poor parker), and we laughed together. Clearly we’d all been too excited and distracted to park properly. Isn’t that wonderful?  It reminded me of a poem by Maggie Smith “Poem Beginning with a Retweet” and these lines,

If you drive past horses and don’t say horses
you’re a psychopath. If you see an airplane
but don’t point it out. A rainbow,
a cardinal, a butterfly. If you don’t
whisper-shout albino squirrel! Deer!
Red fox! 
If you hear a woodpecker
and don’t shush everyone around you
into silence.”

I want to be with people who drop everything to chase rainbows. Who point out the beauty in our world and who stop to pay attention. When I’m feeling down about how people are acting in the world or overwhelmed by the barrage of news, I’m trying to remember moments like this. The spontaneous rush to search for a rainbow. The heady feeling of delight as we caught sight of the full double arc. The moment when so many of us, after the storm had passed, lingered in a parking lot, enthralled by the sight of those two glorious rainbows dazzling in the sky. Smiling together. Connected.

After the rain…

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Have you ever seen the end of a rainbow? Do you know what you’ll find there? Well, it turns out that sometimes you’ll find my lilac bush entwined with a rogue grape vine.

But let me back up a little…

We’d been inside most of the day due to lowering skies, drizzling rain and occasional hiccups of thick downpours. The anticipated thunderstorms hadn’t arrived, but it had been a stormy stay-inside-and-clean-read kind of day. The skies seemed to be clearing, we’d just finished dinner, and I was itching to get out and move a bit.

“Hey, wanna go for a walk?” I asked my husband, Kurt.

“Yeah, sure,” he replied.

I left the room to get my shoes on and moments later heard him call out, “Whoa! Check out the rain!”

Oh, no, there goes our walk!  I thought, then looked out the window. Sure enough, the rain was pouring down in sheets. The sun, however, had emerged from behind clouds in the western sky, and in its rays, the rain fell like liquid silver. We squinted, trying to look at it, dazzled by the combined brilliance of sun and rain.

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“There must be a rainbow out there,” I declared, and I dashed outside into the rain, spinning around in the driveway, scanning the skies.

“Oh! ” I finally cried. “There is one! It’s gorgeous!”

Kurt came outside and we both stared at the intense rainbow forming over our house. It was simply stunning, the most vibrant rainbow I’ve ever seen. It practically pulsed with color, each hue vivid and distinct. I followed its arc over the house and then down, down, down….

“Oh, my gosh! Look!” I said, pointing. “You can see where the rainbow ends! It’s ending right in our yard!”

We both stared. Sure enough the arc of the rainbow came down directly through our grape-vine-covered lilac bush and ended on the grass below.

“That’s unbelievable,” I said.  “I’ve never seen a rainbow’s end before.”

We stood, rapt, marveling at the sight.

Then, after a few moments, I added (typically), “I wonder if I can catch it in a picture.”

The rain had eased almost completely by now, so I dashed inside for my camera and rushed back out, quickly taking a few photos.

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“Well,” Kurt announced casually as we headed down the driveway, “I know where I’m digging tomorrow!”

We laughed and together turned back to look at the dazzling rainbow over our house. Slowly, a second, faint rainbow formed, arching over the first.  We stood in the driveway for long minutes. The rain stopped completely, the clouds parting to reveal brilliant patches of blue. Everything sparkled, bejeweled with raindrops. The rainbows lingered. Finally, we turned to go on our walk.

So, back to my original question: Do you know what you’ll find at the end of a rainbow? It turns out it’s not just my lilac bush and Concord grapes.

There’s treasure to be found.

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