JIM CREES: A ‘so, so cheerful world’
“And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” - Gen. 9:16
Driving home with my Dearly Beloved this past weekend, we were awestruck by the colors of autumn.
Now, I understand the basics regarding autumn’s magic - why leaves change color, and why certain trees have different colored leaf change.
I don’t fully understand all the prompts that lead to early or late color change or the ‘strength’ of this year’s colors as opposed to years past.
Suffice it to say, “Mother Nature is one wondrous lady” and autumn offers the most expressive display of her handiwork. As Albert Camus put it so well, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
We were driving along, heading north, not knowing whether to look left or right - everything was so stunningly beautiful.
If I were to paint a picture of the countryside at this time of year folks would say I was exaggerating. How can you copy such beauty? And if you do so well, who will believe you?
So there we were, driving along, and suddenly - The Rainbow. We were blasted with the most beautiful rainbow either of us had ever seen.
Now, allow me to point out - I’ve seen some pretty cool stuff in my day.
Working on salt water freighters allowed me to see moonbows, (or lunar bows), and even double moonbows without the usual atmospheric pollution we have on land.
I’ve seen the sun rise and set over the desert and the Dead Sea - pretty cool.
I’ve seen a lot of stuff, but I’ve never seen a rainbow as perfect as was this.
Driving east on Meceola Road, we had the sun to our back, dark stormy clouds to the front, and between them some misty rain.
Bingo. Perfect bow conditions.
But this was different.
We could see where the bow started and where it ended - the whole unbroken sweep.
The colors were spectacularly clear and astonishingly bright.
My sweetie noted, “Now I really understand the idea of ‘All the colors of the rainbow!’”
Each color was defined. Each band was distinct.
The bow started and ended between us and the woody areas in the background, which meant that as we drove along we were looking through color into the background scenery - changing the color of the trees and fields.
It was simply astonishing.
We stopped the car and just stared. It literally took our breath away.
I’ve seen a lot of rainbows in my time. They are all beautiful, but mostly you see a piece of one - the starting arch or the finishing drop. The colors are often something of a wash from one color to the next - a blur of color, if you will.
This was not that.
This was the rainbow that if I were to paint it - people would say the effort was too amateurish because everything was so well defined.
Nature, they would say, simply isn’t that precise or exact.
Oh, but it was - precise, exact, and stunning.
As we started up to continue on our way home, we drove past a point going east at which we lost the rainbow.
Dina turned to try and see it out the back window.
I laughingly told her she couldn’t see a rainbow from both sides - coming and going. It all depended on angles of light and the position of the natural prism of moisture droplets.
She countered with a pretty convincing argument.
This rainbow was so different, so spectacular, and so strong, she thought this might - just might - be the exception to the rule. Maybe we could see it from both sides.
We couldn’t. It was gone.
We were left with one of those ever so ethereal memories. A fleeting second or two.
The best of the best.
While he was visiting us recently, my grandson took a whole bunch of little round stickers with Smiley Face designs on them and stuck them all over the workbench in my shop. (OUR workshop actually - his and mine.)
The random stickers were carefully applied. When finished he announced to me that he had made me “A so, so cheerful workbench.”
When he returned to New York, I carefully applied clear-coat lacquer over the stickers so that I would always have a “So, so cheerful workbench.”
The rainbow we saw last Saturday created for us a “So, so cheerful world.”
Regular readers of my columns were probably expecting something to do with the presidential debates, or the campaigns.
Not this week.
Things are still too beautiful, and “so, so cheerful” to let the Baracks and the Mitts of the world spoil it.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” - Psalm 19:1