I set my alarm extra early one morning last week, so I could see the stellar event I’d been reading about: the “blood moon” and eclipse that had been scheduled for the wee hours of the morning. The eclipse was interesting to watch, but the deep red color the moon was supposed to be didn’t live up to its hype. That’s okay, though. Just the act of getting up to see it made me think – as these events always do – about the days when my daughter still lived at home, and we’d go out in the back yard together to watch for  meteor showers, lunar eclipses, and planets lining up in ways they did only once every 500 years or so. Those memories alone – not of the events themselves, but of the pleasure of searching the night sky for them – was worth losing a little sleep that morning.

I found myself staring up at the sky on another day not long ago, about a week before the lunar eclipse. This time it was in broad daylight, and there was no advance warning or announcement about the event taking place. It relied on being in the right place at the right time, with the right circumstances and just the right people around. Kind of like when the planets all line up together.

It was late afternoon, and a light rain was falling – although the sun peeked through every once in a while. I was at Curves exercising, and one of the other women there had just finished her workout and was walking out the door. She came back in a moment later and said, “Hey, there’s a double rainbow out here!”

I hopped off the exercise machine I was on and ran outside to look. One rainbow was bright and intense, and looked so solid you could imagine exactly where both sides of it touched down to earth. The other rainbow was above the first one – yes, I realize that means it was “somewhere over the rainbow” – but it was faint and gentle and fading quickly. Still, it was there.

I ran back inside to get my phone/camera, and came back out clicking away. I moved to different areas of the parking lot and sidewalk to get shots from different angles, and that’s when I saw something else that was bright and stunning. It had nothing to do with the rainbow, however, and it’s something that had been there all along – although I hadn’t really noticed it. It was the spire of the old St. Hubert’s church surrounded by a sea of red, orange and gold as the leaves on the tree next to it waved about in all their autumn glory. With one end of a rainbow dropping down behind them.

It took my breath away.

And it reminded me that it’s not always the big, grand, much-heralded events – or the ones we plan for and look forward to the most – that give us the greatest pleasures in life. Often, it’s the small, quiet ones that just show up when we least expect them. All we need to do is pay attention.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on October 16, 2014.
©Betty Liedtke, 2014

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