Monday, June 17, 2013

Another Rainbow. This One in Kansas...

A few months back, I wrote a piece called “Parched” based in part on the dry, feral land I’ve seen in Kansas where once fertile farms had been. Like all poems, the metaphor was meant to be taken beyond the obvious, and without saying much more…

I will say, however, that I was in Kansas yesterday, making a brief stop at my wife Julie’s folk’s house for the night. It is from this place near Waverly, that I have learned nearly all I know of Kansas and heat and horses and the struggles of farmers through the 20th Century. I have stood in the place where the picture below was taken for thirty-five summers in a row, since the summer of 1978 when I first flew from Michigan to Kansas to visit Julie.

It was in the summer of 1980 that we were married here, a summer that saw temperatures exceed 110o F for the entire month of June. On our wedding day, June 28, the temperature was 114o F. When we arrived at our reception, a large but not air-conditioned building, dozens of candles, not yet lit, were lying flat on the tables, wilted in the heat, holding their 12” tapered shape, their wide end still secure in the star-shaped glass candle holders, but otherwise limp and unable to be stand tall for lighting. We removed them from the tables. I wish the photographer had gotten a picture of that sad sight, soon forgotten as our guests arrived, fanning themselves with our wedding programs. It was hot …. But I digress…

 (You, Tom, digress? Never…)

The point I was making was that I had all of those dry, hot, and callused Kansas images in mind when I wrote “Parched,” and then yesterday, for the first time in my 35 years of visiting here in Kansas, a passing rain fell leaving behind only damp grass and this rainbow. It is only the second rainbow that I’ve seen in several years. The other one was last September at our school (seen here in the previous post). I’m not a mystic, and I won’t attempt to add anything to the beauty of this rainbow, but I immediately thought of “Parched” and that Scripture itself tells us that the first rainbow was a promise from God, formed at the end of Noah’s epic struggle. I suppose that is why rainbows always inspire such hope… hope that the storm has passed and bright days lie ahead.
This photo is from the back door of Julie's parent's house. We will be celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary this week.

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