On seeing a rainbow

My next-door neighbor, who is also a photographer, called last night to say (rather cryptically, I thought) "Look out over the lagoon. Hurry!" So my husband and I stepped out onto the front porch and this was what greeted us: a perfectly beautiful rainbow.  In fact, it was almost turning into a double rainbow as it faded, but I didn't manage to get that with my camera.

I am not, as a rule, one of those people who goes gaga for rainbows, but this one seemed particularly poignant: first, because we lost one of our residents to cancer this week, a woman who had been instrumental in bringing the Race for the Cure to Seattle and who had also started SAMA, the Science and Management of Addiction, as a way of helping parents of addicted teenagers and reducing teen addiction.

But also because our city is in the process of developing a proposal on shoreline management, and one of the options posed by the planning commission was to turn our neighborhood -- and this lagoon -- into an aquatic conservancy.  On one level it sounds like a grand idea, but what it really means is no more power boats or docks or bulkheads (not that my husband and I have any of those things) or decks or home repairs or house sales or mortgages -- the slow and systematic destruction of one of the oldest, most nature-conscious and most colorful neighborhoods on the island.

So I'd like to see the rainbow as a kind of promise that that won't happen; that our neighborhood and homes will be protected, somehow; that we, and our children, and hopefully someday their children, too, will continue to enjoy the waterfowl and the beach and the tides, and continue to conserve it all as best we can.

Silly, I suppose, to read anything so personal into a rainbow.  But we humans have always had a way of looking and hoping for signs that the universe is watching out for us, of thinking that we were, as Mary Oliver says, "born into the poem that God made, and called the world."  Which makes me think of another segment from that same poem (which is in her book, Thirst, and is entitled "More Beautiful than the Honey Locust Tree Are the Words of the Lord"):

"All day I watch the sky changing from blue to blue.
For You are forever
and I am like a single day that passes.
All day I think thanks for this world,
for the rocks and the tips of the waves,
for the tupelos and the fading roses.
For the wind.
for You are forever
while I am like a single day that passes."

... or a rainbow, that slowly fades into the blue...


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