Prismatic Reflection for web DSC_9138
Lately when Big Bertha turned the little key that opened the brass lock on her leatherbound diary, the key seemed impossibly heavy, the effort herculean that it took to turn it. Sometimes she would acquiesce and put the book away. There were so many memories. If she let a few escape, what difference would it make?
But today she sighed and persevered.
"He was singing," she wrote, in a hand that once had flowed but was now crabbed by arthritis. "My grandson Noah. He was dancing and singing so I could hardly get my work done. Then he slipped on the cloth scraps around my sewing machine and took a pretty hard fall on the wood floor. I thought he would cry but he didn't. He got up slow and for a moment looked as if he might. Then he sucked in air as if he were trying to drain the house, and he started singing again. Singing to me there, as I tried with shaking hands to continue guiding the fabric, it not being one of my better mornings, singing as if it were a hymn and he the choir and me the congregation.
"That's why I let off the pedal and listened. It seemed like a little angel had come down, and who wants to miss what an angel has to say?
"This is how it went, I'm pretty sure.
"'Rainbow waves, rainbow waves,
Everybody's talking 'bout rainbow waves.
You don't have to worry, you don't have to shout.
Rainbow waves are what it's all about.'"
"Well, it's a miracle," Little Mac said to Noah as they lay there. "First and last and in between, it's just a miracle. But we would like to think it's something that we understand, so we can talk about it with each other and get it all written down and filed away."
It was a warm morning of the kind that make you think that spring is finally truly on the way at last, even though it's supposed to have arrived weeks ago, and so the skylight was open and the air fresh and bracing enough for a blanket and the light from the brimming cove playing on the wall opposite the bed, refracted somehow so that even though they were on the second floor, the waves could still be seen. And in this case they could be seen through the prism that hung on a thread in the skylight so the light was sorted through it into all its many colours.
"So what you get is rainbow waves," said Little Mac.
"And it's a miracle," said Noah.
Little Mac nodded. "And everything that comes up in our minds is just like that."
"Should I get my thinking cap, Granddad? I'm not sure I understand."
"It's spring, little buddy. Time to give the thinking caps a rest. Just watch what you think. Watch how it comes up. Is it one thing or many things? Is it colorless or is it a rainbow just waiting to be divvied up? Finally, does it stay or go away? Is it really ever there at all? If it isn't, then there's nothing left to worry about. Ever. And nothing left to do but sing and dance, eh? But you be the judge."
"And Delilah, my daughter," Bertha wrote, "who was so worried about taking a job as an undertaker's assistant, today she comes home and it's like somebody gave her two birthdays. 'Mom,' she says, 'You'll never guess.' 'Of course not,' says I. 'So what happened?' I was being a little sarcastic, but she took no more notice than the sun does of the fog when it burns it away. 'Mom,' she says, with her shining face, 'I painted a rainbow today.' 'And how is that dear?' says I, beginning to feel all lit up myself, though I didn't know why.
"She had to gather herself. The words were flying hither and thither and it took her a minute to bring them to roost. And then she says, a little more formally, 'Mother, a clown died. And I had to do the make-up. And her friend was there that was all that she had in the way of a mother and father. And her friend gave me a picture and said to make her look like that again. And what it was was her performing, in the spotlight, with her clown face on and a look like she had just discovered the beating heart of wonder itself.
"'And I did her, Mother. I studied the picture and used what her friend gave me for make-up. And I gave her that look again. And her friend said you've done it and cried. And I cried and we were crying together and hugging each other. And it was all so unbearably sweet that I thought it would kill me. Ha! But it didn't. It didn't at all. I'm in the right place, Mother, doing the right thing, after all.'"
Bertha closed the book and lay it down and turned the bedside light off. Little Mac was snoring his gentle snore that sounded like a fluttering of doves. The moon through the skylight erased her husband's deep wrinkles and put her in mind of the young man who had wooed her and won her so long long ago.
"Rainbow waves," she sang, oh so softly as she settled in and got the covers just right. "Rainbow waves."
24 April 2018
Prospect, Nova Scotia
Keywords:colors, colours, prism, prismatic, rainbow, reflection, spectrum, vivid, wall, waves