Unicorns and rainbows
Oh, glorious road trip, at last. Put on your comfy jeans; just throw your hiking boots in the back. We’ll drive-thru for coffee. Keep your camera handy, though – this vehicle brakes for scenic views!
Driving back down the mountain at dusk on my first day in the Appalachians, I was confronted with believing. In home decor shops, on greeting cards, scrolling by on the Facebook screen – the mantra to ‘believe’ pops up everywhere. A word once common to Bible meetings and Disney fairy tales now fronts for all things upbeat, from unicorn memes to speedy recovery cards to the wall art hanging above the living room sofa. Believe! Dissing a fellow traveler’s belief is a young person’s game. At my mile marker on life’s journey, I know that life is very hard and largely undecipherable. A belief system improves your mileage on this journey like a spiritual oil change. I can see why cultures unburdened with our science saw portents in rainbows. And why Toys R Us still sells dozens of unicorn toys. It’s not only joyful to believe; sometimes it’s a survival skill. Sometimes it is even intuitive, compelling. Needed. I know perfectly well that my beloved digital camera is a product of the scientific method. No magic there. I knew as I labored up the incline to Clingman’s Dome in Smoky Mountain National Park, that the light rain shower overhead and the sun about to peek from beneath the western clouds would produce a prism. A hundred things had happened that day, a tarry here, a missed turn there, to land me walking up the mountain at the precise time a double rainbow appeared on one side and a fiery sunset on the other. It was the kind of rainbow that made strangers gasp and become friends as they beheld it; the kind of sunset that made strangers beckon those with cameras to the right spot to capture the sun before it quickly set. I‘d thought about my mom a lot that day. Too much windshield time crossing beauteous Tennessee, perhaps. It was my first road trip since her death and I had wanted her to be able to come with me. Then again, maybe she had. I didn’t see any unicorns on the trip. But I did see a double rainbow, a fiery sunset, and my first wild black bear within the first 24 hours . . . if you can believe it.
Copyright RC 2016