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  • Mj Pettengill

Hope and a Fallen Rainbow


I stood in a rainbow puddle of gasoline and black peppered snow and smiled. When my oldest son was three years old, he was convinced that a rainbow had fallen into the puddle and that we must return it to the sky. I decided not to spoil it by going to great lengths about oil slicks. I came up with another story, something magical, of course. He would learn about it soon enough.

On this bright day, I looked out over the parking lot. Spring is in the air. Masked people pumping gas, worrying, and hurrying their way in and out of the store seemed unaware of each other and themselves.

A mourning dove at the edge of the parking lot flew up and perched on the dumpster. If only he knew how beautiful it was in the woods behind my house. As I type this, I hear gentle cooing. A pair visits my feeding station at least once a day, usually before sunset. If they are nearby when I go outside, they always flutter away. I bother to call out, “Wait, you don’t have to run… it’s me.” I say that to all of the creatures that do what they should do—flee. After all, I am a predator. They are acting accordingly, and I want them to be wary of humans. Sadly, in many cases, I am as well.

For a while, two doves came by my place to visit. Until one day, I came across a pile of feathers by the smokebox. I saved one of the feathers, said a brief but meaningful prayer, and returned to the house.

I kept careful watch over the widowed dove that continued to stop by. I wondered if it felt sadness at the loss of its mate. Did it grieve? Even if not as intense as humans, I gave it much thought. I was pleased when, in the fall, two began showing up. If I could, I would have asked if it was the same bird with a new mate. Or was it a different pair? Do you ever think about things like that? I’m grateful to live where I do. My bond with the wildness outside of my dwelling sustains me. We are all connected. I was going to write something else, but I wanted to be light and brief. We are constantly navigating new territory, and sometimes my thoughts flutter about like a dove escaping possible danger. It’s better to be safe than sorry, I think. When I am overwhelmed by outside information or the perils and struggles of others, I return inward to my sacred place. We are embarking on spring—birth, rebirth, and the greening. If nothing else, celebrate that. Watch, wait, and observe what is new and renewed. Allow your senses to awaken to the scent of fresh mud, the song of swollen mountain streams, and the melodious bird chorus. I looked out at the frozen vernal pool. Soon it will be time for the peepers and wood frogs to join in the festivities—a spiritous symphony, indeed.

If you do find that a rainbow has fallen from the sky, believe in it. Believe that it will find its way back. Don’t give up hope. (Image: Creative Commons)


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