Monday, 29 July 2013

The girl who danced with a rainbow

Sally was a small child at the time it happened. Maybe 6 or 7 years old. That was the day she saw the rainbow - she had only ever heard about them before, and now she saw it, hanging beautiful and sparkling in the sky above her.

She wanted to see it up close so she ran towards it. As she ran, for the longest time nothing seemed to happen. Then she noticed that the colours were fading and the bands were becoming wider. She kept running, afraid that it might disappear before she reached it.

At one point it did disappear. She sighed in disappointment, but, looking up, she noticed an odd thing in the sky above her. Some geese were flying by and, as they passed over one part of the sky, they changed colour just the tiniest amount. It was like the time her aunt had been painting and washing the brushes in a jar. Sally had stared, fascinated as the colour washed repeatedly off the brush and disappeared into nothingness. When she had said out loud how amazing it was, her aunt had laughed a little and produced a clean jar with perfectly clear water, then washed the brush with purple paint on. Although the water looked clear in the air, when she held a piece of white paper behind it, Sally could see the water had become the faintest purple.

Nothing ever completely disappears, her aunt told her. If something was there it makes a mark on the world around it. It may only be small, but everything is real and everything matters. And it's always worth looking for those places which have been marked.

Looking at the faint wash of colour that the geese passed through, Sally thought that the rainbow was the biggest mark she had ever seen and she was even more determined to see what made it.

She kept moving forwards, conscious that the colours were becoming fainter and more spread apart until, suddenly, there was nothing. Squinting directly in front of her she could just barely see a tiny, tiny trace of blue in everything. Focussed on that one colour, she took one more step forward and the whole world changed.

The first thing she knew was that she was intruding. She felt incredibly rude - she had just barged in without asking permission.

"I'm so sorry," she called out, "I didn't realise there was anyone here. I'll leave." As she tried to turn to walk back out, she felt the lightest possible pressure - like the almost-feeling of being protected while you sleep - guiding her in towards the center of the rainbow and the feeling that she had intruded faded away to be replaced by comfort and music.

The inside of the rainbow was clear and thick. She could move through it, but felt resistance, almost like walking through a swimming pool. She knew there was more resistance behind her than in front, but it didn't feel threatening. The outer bounds were spherical and looked like glass or the smoothest, brightest, most perfect diamond. Beyond the boundaries the whole world fell away and she could see up close every blade of grass and every insect as though they were right beside her and she could also see every part of the world as though she was very high up.

She was stunned by how beautiful and amazing everything was. Beyond the boundaries she could see millions and millions of other rainbows, just like this one. All of them floating together and apart.

She started to turn, to look at everything. Inside she felt happy, joyful and free. Partly in awe of the majesty and wonder of it all, but also being a part of it and having a place in this rainbow.

The music that had been with her since she was welcomed flourished and burst into a glorious crescendo and she began to dance, whirling and spinning and leaping for joy.

At the center of the rainbow was a spark, and it began to build in time with the music and suddenly erupted into glorious radiance. The spark grew and grew and flew around, joining Sally as she danced. Sally knew the rainbow was the happiest it had ever been, and so was she. She smiled at the spark and it felt its happiness right back at her. She laughed for the glory of the moment, the beauty of the music and the freedom of the dance and suddenly she was outside, dancing on grass and the rain poured around her. As every drop fell, she felt the spark whispering "Remember me!"

From that day to this Sally has always stopped in the rain and remembered that moment. And if you also take the time to stop and look you will see that at the heart of every raindrop is where the rainbow begins.