Rainbows and A Rocket Launch

Sacate rainbowYesterday I was happy, in the way that happiness comes over you and takes you by surprise if you don’t scare it off by shifting your mind to shadow thoughts and beating up on yourself as usual. There had been hard rain and heavy winds throughout the night: branches falling, deck chairs blowing, a chaos of weather. But in the morning the sky was a broken roof of cinematic clouds with blue beyond, and the washed-clean world was shining.

We promptly went outside for some post-storm exploration. Sacate Creek was not yet flowing, but there were welcome pools and puddles, and we wandered up the newly muddied canyon and noticed how the grassy hills were suddenly tinged with green.  And then there was the rainbow, a perfect arch above the canyon road.  I took a few pictures to share with neighbors, and there’s a view of it above.

That sky looks like it’s been emptied of rain, but as the rainbow faded, a light shower passed through, almost like a mist. Droplets of water were suspended in the air like a gauzy curtain of diamonds, and everything was sparkling, and I danced around, enchanted, ridiculous, and grateful. On the way back to the house I picked a bejeweled orange from one of the trees…a breakfast treat.

view from our window

That would have been sufficient.

But later, because it’s feast or famine around here and this was obviously a feast kind of day, we went into the valley to have dinner (Chinese take-out!) with good friends who live in town.

There’s how the sky and hills looked as we left.

And then, there was the launch from Vandenberg.  I’ve written about these launches before–for example, here–as we personally experience them, but this one was a really big deal, a massive Atlas V rocket delivering a classified spy satellite into orbit. It began with the usual deep-throated rumbling and vibration, and of course we all rushed out and gazed skyward. We weren’t in the best place for viewing, but even so, we could see the trail of light, and a stage dropped off into the universe, and all the while the deep, prolonged sound of it surrounded us. Wow. Another big thing out there in space. I don’t know what to think about it in terms of its real ramifications, but the capabilities of humankind continue to amaze. Who knows what we can do, for good or ill? And before this turns to brooding, let us simply embrace the wonder of it all.

Later, as we walked up the hill to our house, the stars blazed in the blackness, and the driveway was wet with new rain, and I knew I was happy.

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One Response to Rainbows and A Rocket Launch

  1. Val says:

    Hope you have many more happy Christmas/winter moments, Cynthia! I was braced for that storm; stocked up with supplies for outages, etc., anticipating the pounding. I swear, except for some winds, that storm tiptoed through Buellton. Then it resumed its onslaught of So. Cal. The Atlas launch was memorable though!

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