I am so damn sick of 2020. Aren’t you? Don’t you just want to hop into your Tardis or Delorean or some other stylin’-ass time machine and zap yourself toot-sweet into the future? Short of that, aren’t you tempted to crawl into your comfy person-sized suspended-animation fridge, plug yourself in, program your nap time, fall asleep in a deliciously frozen haze and prepare to thaw out after this bizarre apocalyptic spasm in history has come to a halt?
When that might be, I can’t predict. Don’t put that onus on me, folks. I’d love to be able to say “Ooooh, just set your clocks for Wednesday, January 20, 2021! The Orange Menace will be gone by then! That’ll be the end of the end times! Aim for that! Milkshakes for everybody! Yay!” But I have no idea if that’s the case. We could all go the freeze-pop route only to wake into an even more dystopian era than the one plaguing us right now.
Between the spiking infections and piling-up deaths from COVID-19, the partisan madness of those who refuse to wear masks, the attacks on protesters and the free speech they embody and employ, the anti-science, anti-democratic stances of those in power, the evidence past and present of systemic racism, and the singular, unrelenting abomination of a morally twisted baby-man in the White House who retweets videos with full-on KKK hate speech, I’m feeling like we’re all trapped inside a giant dump truck alongside mountainous piles of shit. It stinks in here. There’s no room. And we’re about to plunge head-first over a cliff.
And, you know, maybe we are. But the other night, my band and I played a small, socially distanced gig outdoors in Delanson. It was fun. Sunny. Joyful. The music of Django Reinhardt always is, and I smiled behind my mask as I scratched at my fiddle and sang. When a shower ended the gig prematurely, we packed up our gear and hauled it through the rain to our cars — and just then, the sun came out. And with it, a double rainbow.
A double rainbow. What did that mean? Was it a positive omen, or yet another sign of creation’s imminent destruction? On the drive back with my boyfriend, we followed it, observing changes in the sky and the shifting illumination of the arcs themselves. As the top rainbow faded, the bottom glowed. By the time we arrived, the clouds above us were a billowing pink and peach and purple, and the rainbow blazed downward into a mythic pot of gold. Its colors dazzled. It looked straight out of Oz.
I took photo after photo after photo, blurting holy shit after holy shit after holy shit before this unexpected spectacle at dusk. This wasn’t any omen. It was no augury of good or ill. It portended nothing but itself, and that was enough. Amid the self-imposed madness of this age we’re in, there above me soared a fleeting snatch of timeless beauty, a glimpse of the embracing sublime and a reminder that nature, now as ever, arcs higher than humankind. Higher than the Orange Menace. Higher than anything that happens between now and whenever this ends, however long it takes to get there. I have to believe we will.
In the meantime, I’ll take all the rainbows I can get.