Somewhere Under the Rainbow

After the big storm, I went to the South Jetty for morning adventure.

I walked down the trail to the beach in a pulverizing rain. I had pumpkin doughnuts stuffed in the pocket of my pea coat and carried convenience store coffee in my right hand. Rain fell into the coffee and produced an interesting ripple effect.

Miraculously, the driftwood fort built in the dunes by my students on the last day of my teaching career still stood. It has a decent chance of standing until the end of Fort Stevens State Park.

The storm had blasted driftwood to the highest reaches of the beach and delivered treasures: a piece of wood with spray-painted graffiti, an orange plastic sea horse, an unopened can of Busch Lite. I kept the horse.

Foam was wiggling to and fro. Gulls ripped crabs apart. A gust of wind blew the coffee out of my hand. In the space of 15 minutes, it had sprinkled, rained, squalled, sleeted. Then, the sun drilled holes in the sky and sent spotlights to the sand—while it continued to rain.

I walked south and reunited with an old friend: the ancient chainsawed round with 147 rings, a noble table where I’d eaten breakfast, played with gulls, heard my cousin unburden his heart, held story conferences, and written preposterous lines of poetry. I sat on the table and dug out the doughnuts. I took one bite and then crumbled the rest on top of the table. I got up and walked away. Gulls flew to the table and two birds landed like it was an aircraft carrier at sea. They grabbed shreds of the bounty and lifted off.

The old sound of the ocean called, or should I say compelled. I started walking toward it. I beheld a half rainbow over the waves. A few seconds later, its eastward arc buried in the jetty and completed the arc. I started running toward the rainbow, to enter it. Rainbows at the ocean always make me run and I have no idea why. Perhaps at this point in my life I wanted to run into its metaphor and trip over the pot of gold.

I saw it. There it was, lit up by a spotlight, a lone sand dollar.

Of course you would be here. You were on my mind. I picked it up. I had just found a sand dollar under a rainbow. It was almost dizzying to consider. I needed a bracer and wished I’d hung on to the Busch Lite.

Are you a person who believes in the elastic power of a rainbow and the concrete significance of what one finds somewhere under that rainbow?

Somewhere under the rainbow. I like that phrase. Join me.

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