As you can probably tell by the bad quality of the photography (lol), the picture of the rainbow was taken by me and is the real deal. It has not, as they say, been altered in any way. I really did stand at the end of the rainbow and I really did take a photo of it.
I wasn’t looking for a rainbow that day, let alone for the fabled end of one. It found me, about 10 years ago, on a chilly December morning a few weeks before Christmas. I was living at the time in an apartment building next to Governor Lake in Halifax. The lake is bordered on one side by a few small buildings and on the other side by a rails-to-trails hiking path and extensive wilderness. At night, I would hear the coyotes howling, and occasionally I would find bear scat behind my building, next to the garbage dumpster.
The morning I took the rainbow photo was like any other morning on the lake. It had rained hard earlier, but heavy rain wasn’t unusual for that time of year. I stepped out on my balcony to get a breath of fresh air, and that’s when I saw the rainbow. I ran inside, grabbed my trusty old second-hand camera, and started snapping.
God does these things occasionally – gives us signs that have meaning mainly only to us but also sometimes to other people as well. It’s his way of saying – on a larger scale than usual – that he’s here, he loves us, and to keep going.
The rainbow landed on the part of the backyard that was marshy and all but impassible except for ducks, and there were quite a few of those living on the lake. Every May, long parades of ducklings, marshalled by their proud mamas, would fan across the water in solemn bobbing processions that sadly grew shorter and shorter as the spring warmed into summer and the ducklings succumbed, one by one, to their many natural predators. Duck families of 12 or more would end up as families of 4, 3, 2, or just mama duck.
On the July preceding the December of the rainbow landing, I was buried under a mountain of work. I was doing text editing for my daily bread, and that summer I had taken on too many assignments for the allotted time. One oppressively hot dull afternoon, I was so frustrated by the heat and by the deadlines I knew I could not possibly meet, I took an unscheduled break and ran outdoors to spend a few minutes by the lake. Cool water lapping against rocks always soothes me.
I flopped down on an outcropping of rocks next to the “rainbow landing” and suddenly started to cry. I hadn’t gone outside intending to cry, but there I was, blubbering away. The tears streamed down in a hot rush and the sobs came thick and loud. As I sat there gasping and snuffling and bemoaning my frustration to some startled dragonflies, a mama duck and her one remaining duckling bobbed into blurry view. The mama stayed a ways from shore, but the little duckling swam closer and closer until finally hopping out of the water and waddling a few steps over to me. To my utter surprise, the little thing plopped itself down next to me. The mama stayed where she was.
By that point, my tears of frustration had turned into tears of joy. I started to laugh, but softly so as not to scare the little one. The duckling just sat there, less than an arm’s length away, watching me. We sat together like that for about three minutes, quietly and companionably, while my breathing returned to normal and my tears dried up. Then the little duckling, its mission accomplished, waddled back to the water, hopped in, and swam out to its mama. Off they both bobbed across the lake.
God does these things occasionally to tell us that he’s here, he loves us, and to keep going. Six months later, in part as a tribute to the little duckling (and its mama), God sent the rainbow to land exactly next to where they had so graciously and unexpectedly comforted me that warm summer afternoon.
God does these things to tell us that he’s here, he loves us, and to keep going.
May your day be blessed with rainbows, ducklings, a trusty old camera, and other priceless treasures from God!