I was on the ferry this morning feeling kind of grumpy. Well, really grumpy actually. The boat was running super late due to the crew performing practice emergency drills at the dock — some kind of MARSEC moment that put the crew through a feigned tizzy in the event of a credible security threat.
I was doing walk-on this morning and wishing that I had opted to drive on. Brrrrrr! It was cold. I stood on the dock in the winter rain, cold, and wind for the added 15+ minutes, awaiting the go-ahead to board and wishing I had worn more winter layers. I stood there, my back to the biting wind, my numb fingers texting the people whom I was planning on meeting that day about our scheduled appointment times. Ferry running late. Don’t know when I’ll be on mainland. Will text you when I am in the truck. PS If it doesn’t stop snowing, I am going to be even later.
To put it simply, it was one of those mornings when everything wasn’t right with the world. I was on another planet: The Planet of Grumpyville.
Once we got moving, the ferry made its requisite stops, island to island, and I was feeling the Lateness weighing me down like an anchor set in the deepest part of the channel. We docked at the last island to load vehicles and people before arriving at the mainland. I looked out the window and there was the most vivid rainbow across the channel. It was simply so colorful and rich, it was as if Nature had foregone its usual palette of transparent and ethereal watercolors for some opaque oils and gluey gouache. Wow! The saturation of color was so splendid!
Well, it’s not very often I talk to people on the ferry. Especially so to people I don’t know. But this rainbow was just so exquisite, I walked up to a group of three people who were sitting in a booth nearby and said, “You’ve got to see this rainbow!” while pointing out the window.
I am an introverted islander and tend to stick to myself when on the ferry, but I felt so compelled to share the beauty. It was too gorgeous not to share. One of the women in the booth came over to the window, and we watched as the rainbow advanced. At first, we could see just one end of the rainbow. Then both ends. Then . . . the rainbow colorific-ally advanced toward us until one end was just this side of the cove by the landing and the other end was sitting on the ferry deck. We marveled, as neither of us had seen such a close and vivid rainbow. It was close enough to put your hand into it and count the varying shades of blue and violet, orange and yellow — big thick bands of color that hung in the air at eye level in a perfect arc.
I said to her, “This is some kind of sign for something good.” She turned to me and said, “I’m having surgery for cancer tomorrow. I’ll take that good sign.” She saw the alarm in my eyes and put her hand on my arm to reassure me. “It’s stage one. I’m lucky. I needed this good omen today.” We talked some more about faith, religion, and spirituality. She defined herself as a Tree Worshiper and when she said so, my mind superimposed bark for her skin and leaves for her hair. It was beautifully eerie – this superimposition that was as real as the colors of the rainbow outside the window.
The rainbow receded to the places that rainbows go. As we parted ways, I told her that I would be thinking of her and sending her good, healing, happy, tree-dwelling thoughts. And so I am – in this brief narrative that describes the beauty of human strength and dignity in such a lovely person. Tree Lover, I wish you well, my new friend. I send you healing energy and thoughts. I thank you for inspiring me today and for giving me the imagery of you being a strong and beautiful tree. I thank you for sharing the momentary beauty of that amazing and healing and hope-offering rainbow with me and making it both memorable and spiritual.
Some days it doesn’t take much to turn the Grumpies into a State of Humility. This is what I thought as the ferry approached the mainland and I readied myself to go forth toward my appointments with an I’ll-get-there-when-I-get-there attitude. A vivid rainbow and a brave person inspired the much-needed shift from Silly to Real . . . Grumpy to Humble. It truly is the simple, serendipitous moments that grow the spirit.