The End of the Rainbow

People talk as though the rainbow’s end doesn’t exist.  Think about it…the elusive pot of gold.  According to L. Frank Baum, the rainbow had daughters who would dance upon the arc and would sometimes alight upon the Earth.

But, one day in the last so many years, I saw the rainbow’s end.  Across the street, just in front of my neighbor’s house, the rainbow had planted its end upon the Earth and it was beautiful and wonderful.

I know that someone out there is saying that I’m completely wrong and mis-guided.  I even saw an amazing video yesterday that showed a perfect circle rainbow.

But, I swear, the rainbow’s end was in the street right in front of my neighbor’s house.

I didn’t see a pot of gold, no dancing pre-adolescent girls who drank nectar and morning dew.  I merely saw the shimmering visage of a band of six (seven depending on what you were taught) colors in a perfect translucent spectrum.

I love rainbows.  They give me a sense of hope.  And, no, it has nothing to do with Noah and the Ark.  I liked that story because of the animals.  Until I realized that all of the other animals that weren’t taken on the Ark died.  And then I was seriously upset because it wasn’t fair that the animals died because humanity was stupid.

But rainbows, no matter where, a gasoline puddle, a quick shot of color in my sprinkler, an upside down colored smile in the sky, they always give me hope.  Nothing can be truly bad so long as the world is banded by layers of pure color and utter, simplistic beauty.

When I was a girl in Germany, I remember seeing a double rainbow.  This was after another long day of rain during my family’s three-week vacation in Germany and Switzerland when we had to fill up on the German culture and the beauty of the mountains before returning to Northern Virginia/Washington DC suburbia hell and oppressive summer humidity.  We were at an American hotel so Dad could play the slot machines for a little while (a simple amusement when the hiking paths are closed due to avalanches and it’s too dangerous to hike in the mountains during torrential rain because it’s actually going to be snow when you’re hiking that high).  I was bored and moving from a ballroom to an outdoor patio when the rain seemed to pause and I guess a cloud gapped and a rainbow…and its mate appeared.

I don’t remember much of that vacation.  We likely went on the same hikes and ate the same food that we did year after year because this was our 21 day return to paradise and we needed to do as much of the same as possible because we needed to refill our memories.  But, thirty plus years later, I can still see the concrete and stone walls surrounding the patio, the golden-yellow stucco of the hotel, the pine trees on the mountains in the distance, the arch of one rainbow and its twin stretching its reflective, duplicate self over the other.

Like a lover.  Or a mother hovering over her child.  Two best friends playing or dancing.  A man courting his lady.

I can still see the mist slowly rising up through the valley, the clouds tangling in the pine trees, leaving behind tendrils that straggled upwards.  If I think hard enough, I would probably be able to hear the bells no the cows’ collars as they walked into the valley and to the barns to be milked.

When I was visiting my best friend and trying to help her through an incredibly difficult time in her life, as I was driving home, I passed under at least two dozen rainbows or fragments of rainbows.  Literally, from her home to mine, an hour and a half drive, I had to driven under 24 or more rainbows.  At her home, she was struggling to raise two beautiful and tragically hurt foster children who resented her for not being their mother no matter how unfit she was to raise them.  They didn’t care.  My friend wasn’t the woman who birthed them and then caused irreparable harm.  And my friend was doing her best to engender healing that the children also resented.

It was enough to question faith.

But God wasn’t going to question me.  Instead, he gave me a set of atmospheric stepping stones that led me from my friend’s house where chaos was the norm to my home which is dirty but also comfortable and cozy.  It is where everyone owns at least three pillows, if not more, and we have more blankets than…well..I don’t know.  But we own lots of blankets. Because nothing can be so wrong if you can wear your most comfortable, fuzzy pajamas and curl up under a fuzzy, warm blanket.

Life is filled with pain and tragedy.  I haven’t experienced it so much as I have learned about it, read about it, witnessed it happen to those whom I love.  At times, I feel like some people are a bit resentful of my optimism, see me as being incredibly naive and a bit obtuse to the world and its destructive habits.

I am naive, in some ways.

But I am knowledgeable enough to know when I have been given a blessing, even if it’s temporary.

And sits on the street outside my neighbor’s house.

It might shimmer and quickly evaporate.  It doesn’t have a pot of gold.

But the joy I felt was rich enough for me.

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