Having lived in Chicago for many, many years, I am completely aware that (at least in Chicago) EVERYBODY is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.
Still, I have no Irish traditions to celebrate, but in the spirit of the day, I am re-posting something that's the closest thing I have to anything Irish! So I'm sorry if you've read this one before!
It has absolutely nothing to do with St. Patrick, Ireland, shamrocks, or little men in green suits! But after you read it, you'll probably see how my encounter "somewhere over the rainbow" is close enough.
Original Posting: "Look to the Rainbow" September 16, 2009
I'm not particularly scientific, I can understand some principles when explained, but generally, I'm a words person, not a concept person. Neither am I mystic, psychic, or much into karma, chakkra, or anything that goes "bump in the night". That said, I once had an unbelievable experience that amazes most people when they hear about it. Let's see if it amazes you!
When Ratchlet was still in college (at St. Mary's College at Notre Dame), my BFF, Cath, and I planned to drive from Chicago to South Bend, IN to see a production of "West Side Story" that the Theatre Department was doing. We planned to leave on a Friday evening right after work at about 4:30 pm. Its only a 90 min. drive, so we would have plenty of time to get there, grab a bite, still be in time for the 8:00 pm curtain. As "West Side Story" is one of our favorite musicals, we were excited to see it and had been looking forward to the trip for weeks!
That Friday morning brought horrible rainstorms that lasted all day long, complete with pouring rain, thunder, lightening, and big, black ominous clouds. My BFF, my daughter, and I traded phone calls all day trying to decide whether or not to attempt the trip. We were so disappointed that we might have to cancel. We kept putting off an actual decision, hoping the weather would improve.
Finally, just before it was time for a make-or-break decision, the rain slowed to a sprinkle, the thunder and lightening disappeared, and the clouds began to slowly move off to the Southeast. That was good enough for us! The trip was a "GO!!"
All was proceeding just fine. Traffic wasn't too bad, the light sprinkling was manageable and we were on our way, high spirits restored. After the road made the required turn from South to East, the sun began to peak through the still cloudy skies in the West behind us. That breakthrough of sunlight began to make the roadway steam and the clouds ahead once again looked big, black, and ominous. It actually was kind of pretty; the rising mist with the sun highlighting the beautiful green trees and foliage all up against the nearly black sky ahead. As often happens in those circumstances a rainbow appeared.
As Cath and I were talking and laughing, having a good time, we began to focus our attention on the rainbow. It was a beautiful rainbow, a full arc, with the colors extremely vivid and well-defined, probably the best either of us had ever seen.
After a short while we realized the the rainbow was not dissipating, nor was it moving away from us (as mirages and other optical illusions often do). We were actually getting closer! We were heading right for it. The colors were still extremely vivid and the rainbow seemed to end right in the middle of the road upon which we were driving!! We couldn't believe it. Wow! Neither of us had ever been this close to a rainbow! How utterly amazing.
Now I swear that I am NOT making this up, as we continued (at about 50 mph, this was the Indiana Tollway after all) suddenly we were smack dab in the middle of the rainbow!! We were driving right through it!!! Oh my God, was this even possible?? We could see the refracted light on every surface inside the car....the hood, the dash, the doors, the seats, our clothes, everywhere! My hands tightly clenching the steering wheel each had a very clear rainbow of refracted light across the back. If I moved my hands the rainbows stayed right with me. It was unbelievably beautiful! Both of us could see it, so if it was crazy, we were BOTH crazy!!
We had no camera, so we couldn't document it; and no, we didn't stop and dig for gold! That never even occurred to us; the reality of what we were seeing was enough!
And then, just as suddenly, it was gone. Completely and totally gone, as if it had never been there at all. The whole thing couldn't have lasted much more than 15 or 20 seconds. Cath and I kept asking each other, "Did you see that??? I can't believe it!" There was no outward sign that any other driver had experienced what we had. We continued on our way, but we didn't talk about anything else for quite a while! Once we returned home, no one we talked to had ever experienced anything like it.
As I said, I am no scientist so perhaps this experience was nothing unusual. It might happen all the time, I just don't know. I'm sure there is some simple explanation for how or why it happened. Nevertheless, after all this time I don't think I want to know. I'd rather consider the experience unique and special. I'd rather think that somehow Cath and I are unique and special because of it. All I know for sure, is that now, whenever I "look to the rainbow," I remember....and I smile!
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!