This is where my head was last week when I pulled into the parking lot of Trader Joe’s here in Midtown, Atlanta, and immediately noticed rainbows flashing from practically every car windshield in my immediate vicinity. I stretched my head backward and then forward, trying to get a glimpse of this ribbon in the sky, but it was nowhere to be seen.
And then I looked up.
Right there, looking like a miracle, was a double sunbow—two rainbows ringing our planet’s brightest star. I stood there in that parking lot, giggling and marveling at that miracle and snapping pictures like a lunatic. There were people all around me, staring at their phones, packing groceries in their cars, rushing into the store, barking at people through their earbuds, paying not one iota of mind to what was happening right above their heads.
Finally, I pointed out the double sunbow to a lady grabbing a cart near my car. “Cool,” she said, giving a lazy glance up. “I can’t really see it. The sun’s too bright in my eyes.” I stifled narrowing my eyes and explained to her that she should look outside the sun, not at the sun, to see the rainbows. She just went on about her business. Thinking maybe a kid would match my excitement, I spotted one—a little white girl with an older Black woman I presumed to be the child’s sitter. With the woman’s permission, I pointed out the sunbows to the little girl, who, too, gave it a half a glance. “Do you see them?” I asked excitedly.
“Yeah,” she said, more annoyed than impressed.
“What did you just say?” her sitter barked.
The girl was silent.
“Did you just say, ‘yeah?’” the sitter demanded.
Still nothing from the girl.
The sitter looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said something about the challenges of teaching errant white children the King’s English. Because this was infinitely more important than reveling in the beauty of what had unfolded in the sky.
This irked the hell out of me on that day, but since, I’ve gathered that it wasn’t my job to convince everyone else around me to get hyped at the sight. It was meant for me to take stock of what had been on my mind that very moment when I pulled into that parking lot and saw the colors—to know that deep in my gut, I knew what I needed to do and knew, too, that something greater than me has my back in that decision. With that knowledge came calm—immeasurable peace.