The end of a college semester my parents decided that they would take me on a long way home journey and stop at various sites they had chosen along the way. The last destination we would stay several nights. That would be in Yosemite, California.
College is no-man’s land in the scheme of life. You are trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up; which changes as much as your room mates. Your moods are a roller coaster ride dependent on the latest relationship, the highest grade, or if you have fresh milk in your apartment or dorm refrigerator. Sometimes you wish to curl up with a stuffed animal and watch Sponge Bob, while other times you feel you can take on the world. The feelings ebb and flow so much, I tended to get crabby easily. Why wasn’t my hair looking right? Why did my teacher add on extra reading? Why isn’t the weather cooperating? Why is there hair clogging the community shower? Why can’t I eat french fries anymore!?
Going on this trip at this particular time in my life did not make me feel excited, it made me feel lonely and tired before we even left. I didn’t have a boyfriend. I didn’t have a summer job. I was getting anxious for that impending graduation. I would be alone with my parents looking at scenery. This seemed more like an old folks bus tour I accidentally got on.
Needless to say, I was a crab the entire way. My parents put up with me. They didn’t feed my under-the-breath comments, they didn’t tire of my straggling behind with no energy. They tolerated me until the last evening before we took the last leg home.
It was our last night in Yosemite. One of the most beautiful national parks in the world. We had hiked up water falls, walked in meadow just beginning to burst with spring. I have grown up with nature and love it immensely but this time I felt flat.
We had just finished dinner. My father had gotten up to get our coats and came back to exclaim we needed to leave right then because we were going on a night hike. You can imagine the look I gave my dad. He looked straight at me and said, “You’re going.”
We were there in off season. It was chilly. Only a small crowd gathered by a Ranger waiting for us. He passed out flash lights and gave instructions to stay close. Then we were off. I straggled and acted like I was wearing cement shoes. The ranger continually told me I had to keep up.
Soon I could hear water. Loud fierce rushing water but heavy forest and darkness blocked my view. We hadn’t hiked up that steep but we were next to some type of river that was fast and furious only understood by the dampness in the air, the sound, and the feeling. I could hear a commotion from my group and guide to come quickly. They were yelling for me to hurry. I felt that fight or flight instinct, thinking there may have been a wild animal behind me so I ran to them.
We were standing in a small clearing next to a massive gushing waterfall that was only about fifteen feet tall but very wide. The guide told us to turn our lights off, so we did. It was dark. Our eyes were trying to adjust and we were getting specks of sprays from the water on our faces. The guide continually kept looking up, so we looked up. Was there an eagle we were supposed to see? A pterodactyl?
All of a sudden the water fall was illuminated in light. I looked around to see if someone put a spot light on it from somewhere but there was only us standing there. Then in a second a glistening gentle rainbow stretched across the gushing water from one side to the other, stayed for about one minute then vanished. I looked up to see a proud moon just completing a goal she had worked hard to achieve, now being shaded by moving clouds. It was a moonbow.
We stood there waiting for it to happen again. The Ranger had already backed away waiting to take us back to the parking lot. It was done.
Moonbows only occur under the most perfect circumstances. They are a phenomenon that hits this particular falls only one night a year at Yosemite, if it happens. The conditions all have to be perfect. When it does it is rare.
I nearly missed it because of my crabbyness. My dad made it happen for me.
I have never forgotten that night. I have never forgotten my mood that vacation. I know moonbows are rare occurrences. How much more rare would it be if we could notice the ordinary and be thankful.
Stop, pause, notice, give thanks. It isn’t that hard.
God gave us so many presents to unwrap. We just let them sit there when we don’t notice and thank Him.