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Rainbows over Tucson - 07/09/2020

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

As of today, the Bighorn Fire that has been burning in the Catalina Mountains of Tucson is 79% contained, or "pretty much out," as the Arizona Republic put it in the newspaper. Residents of the area were allowed to go home today. We owe so much to the firefighters who worked so hard in 100+ degree weather, but we also got a favor from Mother Nature that helped. On July 1, we got our first monsoon storm of the 2020 season, in a big way over the mountains. This was two days after I lost my pug, and my first day back on my driving job. As is usually the case with monsoon rains, you can see the storms from far away, and they are very intense in specific areas, but your area might not get any rain at all. That was the case on July 1. I watched the storms moving all around the valley and then finally out over the mountains around sunset, but not a drop fell on me. And then I saw the rainbow.

Rainbows were an unexpected bonus from the monsoons for me when I spent my first summer in Tucson. I knew about the rainy season, but no one had told me how frequently we would see rainbows during this time. It's common because it frequently is raining in one area while the sun is shing close by. That's what happened on July 1 - I was in a sunny area looking back on a big rain, and suddenly there was a wide rainbow over the mountains, with all seven colors showing. I have always associated rainbows with the love and faithfulness of God, due to the Bible verses in the book of Genesis which describes the rainbow after the great flood as "a new covenant" between God and man. Specifically, it promises that God will never send another flood to destroy man (although, notably, he didn'st say anything about fires). The rainbow was to be a sign to all people. But rainbows mean something more to animal lovers - they are forever associated with "The Rainbow Bridge." This poem was written in the early 1990s by a pet grief counselor. It has become so popular since the advent of the Internet that nearly everyone who has lost a pet has likely read it, or received in sympathy from friends.

In prose form, the poem tells the story of "a lush green meadow just "this side of Heaven" (i.e. before one enters into it). Rainbow Bridge is the name of both the meadow and the adjoining pan-prismatic conveyance connecting it to Heaven. According to the story, when a pet dies, it goes to the meadow, restored to perfect health and free of any injuries. The pet runs and plays all day with the others; there is always fresh food and water, and the sun is always shining. However, it is said that while the pet is at peace and happy, they also miss their owner whom they left behind on Earth. When their owner dies, they too arrive at the meadow, and that is when the pet stops playing, turns, sniffs at the air and looks into the distance where they see their beloved owner. Excited, they run as fast as they can, until owner and pet are once more in union. The pet licks its owners in joy while the human looks into the soft eyes of their pet—who might have been absent on Earth, but never absent in their heart. Then side by side, they cross the Rainbow Bridge together into Heaven, never again to be separated" (Wikipedia description).

I have always found the concept of the Rainbow Bridge comforting, if far-fetched. But in reading about animals in the afterlife, I have found that many people who have had near-death experiences have been greeted by beloved, excited pets from their past. I know that if there is a heaven, it would not be heavenly for me unless my dogs were there. And when I saw that rainbow over the mountains, all I could think was that God was reminding me that Clara will be there on the other side, and we will never be separated again. I know it wasn't there just as a message for me, and I am very glad that the rain helped put the fire out. But on that day, I needed to hear from my Clarabelle, and God sent me a rainbow.

#BighornFire #MonsoonSeason #Rainbows #NewCovenant #RainbowBridge #Comfort

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