Chasing Rainbows

A wet, warm breeze blew the last of the raindrops across the sky. After an hour of drizzling darkness, the clouds began to glow a shade lighter. Even though the sound of the rushing drains fooled my mind into thinking it was still raining, my dry cheeks informed me differently. The thunderstorm was over, and the blue sky began to push through the grey. It was just after 4 pm and I knew it was time. The hunt was on.

Sprinting across the street, I hurdled over a wooden fence and up a small grass hill. This was the best place for the first view. Carefully balancing on perfectly placed lava rocks in the neighbor’s garden, I hid behind a large hedge that kept my location a secret to any onlookers. Watching, waiting, eyes focused on the color changing horizon, I stared at the heavens for the first sight of a rainbow.

This was my daily game as a child, watching the skies after a storm for that beautiful bow of color. I did not need any friends to play with me. In fact, I liked it better when I could hunt for the rainbows alone. Sometimes I would be able to spot them immediately, even as the rain was still dripping down my back. But other times there were no rainbows to be found, just a sky full of strange shape and hues following the afternoon showers. If it never appeared, the great expanse above imprinted stories in the clouds of other hopes and dreams, left for my imagination and enjoyment. Yet if I found that glorious rainbow, it was always an uncomplicated surprise.

I grew up and away from that simple afternoon game years ago. Busy life and multiple responsibilities now keep me inside, minding my steps and the work of my hands. As it should be, successful adult-life has no time for the silly games of chasing rainbows. All is well, here on the earth. The bills are paid, and children are content. There is no time to watch the sky.

I grew up and away from chasing rainbows years ago, because what is a rainbow anyway? My elementary education revealed they are not even real. The colors in the sky are simply refractions of sunlight spilt into different wave lengths by the prism quality of water droplets. The contours of clouds where I created my epic love stories were common collections of water vapor after a storm. What were you hunting for, silly girl, in the illusions of the heavens?

Yesterday, it rained in southern California, which is rare. Driving home from the gym I accidentally looked up into the misty sky. I saw a rainbow. Even after all these years, my heart immediately softened. Chapters and episodes later in life, yesterday, I wondered what happened to all the stories that lived in the sky. All the hopes and dreams that projected their beautiful colors just beyond the horizon. I looked up again and realized the rainbows had never really disappeared. Water still transformed the eternal beams of warmth into a visible promise for the whole world to see. The stories of a beautiful tomorrow were still imprinted in the sky, enlightened by the long-awaited sun.