I was barreling down the street last week, hurrying toward an appointment I should have left for 15 minutes earlier, when I turned the corner and saw a rainbow. Not just any rainbow, but a huge, full arc that spanned the entire sky and yet seemed to be rising from the pavement in front of me. It was breathtaking and vivid, and you could see every one of the ROYGBIV colors, even the violet. I had never actually seen the violet.
I should have pulled over right then, but I didn’t. I kept driving, craning my neck to take in as much of the miracle as I could at 55 miles per hour. Then, as quickly as the rainbow appeared, it was gone.
My husband Harold was the driver one evening when a full golden moon appeared on the horizon. As we made our way home, it edged its way over the tree line and lit up…well, the whole world. We didn’t pull over then either, but I managed more neck craning from the passenger side.
My hands-free status also brought me to an epiphany: This wondrous moon is out there every single night in one form or another, orbiting the Earth while the Earth orbits the Sun, which is no small feat in itself. It is not a light source but a reflector, one so powerful that it cuts through the darkness and makes lovers swoon. It controls the tides, and yet there are human footprints on the surface. The whole thing boggles the mind — if you take time to think about it.
Which I hadn’t lately. I hadn’t thought about rainbows either, but let’s do just that. Rainbows are full arcs of color coaxed from errant raindrops simply because the light hits them at just the right angle. If you’re not amazed by that, then you’ve been watching too much television.
Like me. If I hadn’t had to be on the road that morning, I would have missed the rainbow entirely. Most likely, I would have been hunkered down on the couch with a cup of tea and some morning news show that tries to balance terrorist and epidemic updates with news about Justin Timberlake and recipes for gluten-free cheesecake, neither of which are in the same class of “awesome.”
Every year at this time, I make a list of the things I am thankful for — home and family, dark chocolate and self-adhesive stamps. There are big things and little things, but I rarely stop and think about the ROYGBIV sort of things, and I mean for that to change.
For starters, I made a commitment to step outside my house each night and at least look up at the moon. My neighbors don’t need to worry. I don’t plan on doing any howling, just taking a moment for appreciation.
I’ve started stepping out in the daytime, too, which reminds me — how great are clouds? Water from the Earth’s surface is drawn up into the air and rather than hanging there as a soggy mass forms big poufy shapes that float from place to place and shape-shift to look like castles and bunny rabbits. Pretty amazing stuff, don’t you think?
I do, and it’s time I said, “Thanks, God. Really, this is awesome. I mean it. Clouds and stars and rainbows and the moon — thanks!”
And be forewarned: The next time I see a rainbow arching over Highway 280, I’m going to pull over and spend a little time marveling. (I’ll signal first.)
A sky full of color in a drop of water… amazing.