My daughter and I went hunting for rainbows this afternoon, after a sudden downpour which looked like a sheet of water outside of our bathroom window.
It came down in literally one, fluid pane of watery glass rather than “buckets.”
We stood momentarily still—a feat for both of us individually, much less at the same time—and we were quite perplexed that those lingering blackish-grey clouds actually decided to gift us with rain.
I say “gift” us and I mean nothing short of honest awe for mother nature; nothing sarcastic in the least.
Well before my daughter was born, my husband and I lived in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment—and enchanting it is. Rainy? Not so much, unless you count monsoon season.
Oh, the magic of the monsoons.
For two hours straight, the heavens cascade endless rivers of tears—of joy, of course—down onto the dry, parched land—and then right before you’ve even come to terms with what has happened, it’s dry and sunny and beautiful New Mexico all over again.
This happens for about a month.
For a total of a few weeks, my Ohio-born-and-bred-future-husband-of-mine and I would sit on our rickety white-painted metal chairs on the porch of our quaint 1800’s brick house (one of three or four total in the area) and watch the rain pour in endless sheets off of the porch roof and onto the dusty ground below. Or, we would do it as often as we could, considering that he was a graduate student and I was working my ass off at a pub—and monsoons happen smack dab in the middle of the afternoon.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
We would eventually laugh out loud at the weather forecast, in part because of the funny weatherman’s adorable dog, but, mostly, though, because the predictions were nearly always the same—sunny and gorgeous.
Of course, New Mexico has seasons—it’s often hard to get loved ones-turned-visitors to understand this. On the other hand, however, as Ohio heart-landers, we were both used to seasons.
I liked my snow and my slush and my various forms of water and my mushy grass. I adore needing umbrellas unpredictably and boots just about year-round. Yet, more than any of this, I’m a very moody sort of lady who adores still, grey, over-cast days that allow my moods to fester and brood and breed an air of silent, quiet misery and solitary confinement—just me and my rainy day and my sofa and my novel, thankyouverymuch.
There’s an understated relief in knowing that “there’s nothing I can do today but stay inside, keep myself company and mope a little.” No, more than any of this—there’s absolutely nothing wrong with moping.
So, my daughter and I were inside our gorgeous, picture window filled home looking out at our torrential downpour and moping, although only slightly.
Me, I was moping more.
I’ve not been well, as anyone who spends two seconds with me can tell. I sound stuffy and sinusy and I’m grumpy and cross and I don’t care who knows it, thankyouverymuch.
I’ve scheduled my sinus surgery, which, at this point, I’m actually looking quite forward to. And now I’m trying to pretend that I feel well enough to enjoy my favorite season of all time, ever—the fall—and, let me tell you, it’s difficult to fool yourself.
It’s rather a challenge to pretend—to yourself—that you feel grand and jolly and ready for a jumping-in-the-leaves-grand-ol’-time—it’s not easy. And yet. And yet.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
And yet there’s something noble about fall and colds and flu season and knowing that it might get cold or the air might get dry and make your hair staticky and you might become just a tad bit mopey.
It’s a teeny tiny bit noble because you’re aware that it will end—it nearly always does—and it’s nice to sit in your temporary cell of moody confinement.
And, yes, there’s something a bit bland in a blah day—but how do you know spicy if you don’t taste the mild? How do you know that a rainbow exists at the end of the rainstorm waiting to greet you with its magical—albeit mopey—mystery?
My daughter and I went out hunting for rainbows. We didn’t find any. I thought back to all of the rainbows I saw during my stay in New Mexico.
My longterm-love-live-in-boyfriend-future-husband and I would go for orange, rocky drives in our old Back to the Future truck, listening to our tunes of the moment via Amazon-purchased-and-sent cd’s and watch the most wondrously colored sea-green desert brush become nothing in comparison to a triangle-shaped rainbow hovering above our quickly moving off-roading Toyota in a perfectly blue and sunny sky.
(Because after the monsoons, when the sky was pristine and the ground was dry again, the rainbows still floated, miraculous and magical.)
Brown paper packages tied up with strings.
My daughter and I didn’t find a rainbow today, but we managed to enjoy our lazy, drippy day—and somehow my sweet, sunny baby girl (a Leo) managed to enjoy her pestilent, moody mama (a Scorpio).
And then Daddy came home—the man who, once upon a time, proposed to me in the middle of a New Mexican monsoon, two dark Mexican beers perched quietly next to two rickety white-painted metal chairs.
He asked his two small ladies if they wanted to run to the store with him.
Of course his one, tiny, out-and-about little lady said “yes” while vigorously clapping her hands and his other, larger yet still-petite lady slowly got on her neon running shoes.
The three headed out into a slow drizzle—more of a slight sprinkle, really—of rain. The two adults—the once-upon-a-time New Mexican love birds—tried to talk about their days but the smaller lady in the back was too loud in her excitement and pleasure to be out in this beautiful world.
The grouchy, slightly pestilent woman soon forgot why she was moody (only partially recognizing her diseased sinuses and the damp air) and they laughed and looked in the rear-view mirror at their tiny and miniature counterpart.
These are a few of my favorite things.
Anyway, they got to the parking lot of their grocery store, where they frequently went to get water (they have a rustic well), and he parked their car and they looked through the rain-beaded window to see a rainbow—no a double rainbow.
And people are often grouchy and grumpy at this particular grocery store, they notice when they go, but not today.
No, today, everyone stopped to smile at the tiny one—happily singing Rain-bo, Reyn-bo.
They waved to her and she waved back—so many people stopping to admire the magic of the rainbow with this little family of three—and it dawned on me, suddenly, surprisingly, singularly: you can’t hunt for your rainbows—they come to you.
I felt a metaphor for life hidden within my day—hidden within my many days—and the metaphor was this:
When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.
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Ed: Catherine Monkman