I’m celebrating a birthday today, and it’s one of those milestone years. You know, one of those birthdays where people tend to throw surprise parties or arrange for something like 40 cardboard cows to poop (I mean pop) up on your lawn. I’ve avoided both today, thankfully. (Most folks know me well enough to figure out that surprises and pooping cows aren’t exactly my favorite things.)
Still, the weather has been downright freaky here on this birthday Friday. This morning dawned gray and foggy, and I was grateful that my boss allowed me to work at home today. Then a torrent of rain accompanied by lightning bolts and thunderbursts straight out of Greek mythology. The Dean and I cancelled our lunch plans as sheets of rain slammed against the windows. The doorbell rang mid-conversation, the Fed-Ex guy holding a bunch of bursting tulips from ProFlowers. And then a brilliant blue sky with clouds so puffy and Charminesque that you felt you could just stand on tiptoe and squeeze one.
It was then that I decided to venture out, to put down the laptop and visit the bargain bookstore and the library. The air was fresh, the road empty, and the radio and I sang songs from the 70s with the window down. “Oooooh, baby, baby it’s a wiiiiiiiild world, it’s hard to get by just upon a smile. Oooooh, baby, baby, it’s a wiiiiiiild world and I’ll always remember you like a child, girl.” I felt like Lauren Ambrose’s character Claire Fisher, in the ending montage of Six Feet Under (I’m still in deep mourning for that show) as she careens down the highway in her green hearse.
And then, after a few hours of sun-drenched brilliant-blue sky goodness, a reappearance of the storm clouds, as this photo taken right outside our door at 5:00 p.m. today shows.
We hustled the kids to the window, I grabbed the camera and ran outside. A young neighborhood boy, walking alongside the houses in the grass behind ours, head down, missing this.
“Hey, look,” I said to the boy, gesturing as the rainbow’s brilliance faded. He stopped, looked up just in time to catch a glimpse and smiled. Oooooh, baby, baby it’s a wild world, it’s hard to get by just upon a smile …
I stood for a moment as the rainbow faded, watching in awesome wonder.