As I was driving home from running my errands, I turned into my street and was shocked to see a huge rainbow filling up the entire sky behind me. In a strange way it made me think of a story my friend Debby once told me about going backpacking in the wilderness with her friend who is legally blind and wears thick glasses. This semi-blind friend is quite the hiker, but she’s dependent upon Debby to help her over the rough places in the trail and through the streambeds where you really have to watch your step.
One day they were walking along a trail packed in between some very dense brush and came upon the mother of all rattle snakes. She wasn’t very long, but she seemed about 9 or 10 inches in diameter–at least–a huge, barrel-chested beautiful snake woman lying in the middle of the trail sunning herself, the Goddess incarnate.
Debby and her friend knew that either they had to go back and try and find another way around; sit down and wait, hoping the snake would eventually move on; or attempt to inch quietly around her by squeezing through the brush at the side of the trail. They had to reach their destination with enough time left to set up camp before dark, so they opted for the latter. Debby led her semi-blind friend safely passed Grandmother Rattlesnake, praying to her, praising her and asking her to be generous to the foolish two-leggeds who had to use her trail.
My friend said that she was not so much afraid as full of awe at the site of this majestic snake who ruled that trail just by the power of her presence.
I have just seen the Celestial Serpent, the Mother of All Rainbows, Ix-Chel, Lady Rainb0w incarnate. As I stood in the middle of the road, consumed with delight, I watched fathers carry their small children out into the street and point up into the sky. When I came into my study to write about this, my upstairs neighbor was leaning over her porch railing, telling stories to our next door neighbor about all the great rainbow sightings of her life–which were only meek comparisons to this titanic brush stroke from the pallet of the Divine.
Nature has the power to galvanize us like nothing else can. I’m so very glad that capacity still slumbers lightly enough within us to be shocked awake in the presence of extravagant beauty.