On a cruise to the last frontier, a weird illusion was a sign of things to come.
Posted in , Aug 27, 2015
Are rainbows signs from God? The Bible seems to say so. Many people believe they are. We know all the science behind light refracting through water droplets, and yet, when we see one, something stirs within us.
We still gape in wonder at these colorful marvels, or totally flip out like the famous “Double Rainbow Guy.” That’s got to mean something. So excuse me for getting a little freaked when a rainbow started following me in Alaska.
What was I on at the time, you ask? I was on a boat. A cruise ship, the Celebrity Solstice, sailing through the narrow, gorgeous, iceberg-filled fjord called the Tracy Arm. (Our captain assured us the ship was unsinkable, so of course I was put at ease.)
I was with my wife and her family, celebrating my in-laws’ 35th wedding anniversary. That day, the weather was stormy and the seas were rough. But that didn’t stop me from standing out on deck to admire the view:
I was headed back inside for lunch when I saw it in the distance, the rainbow, a mere brushstroke in the clouds. (Start with the photo below on the upper left and move clockwise.)
We sat in the dining room and through the tinted windows I could see the rainbow had grown, stretching in a wide arc across the sea. Then things got weird. The rainbow left the edge on the horizon, and like Jesus walking on water, slowly glided across the surface of the waves until it seemed to point directly at me.
What was I on? I told you, a boat. Look, I took photos, okay?
The totally rational part of my brain says this had to be some crazy optical illusion, but I’ve seriously never heard of a rainbow reaching out to anyone. Crazy fire rainbows, like editor Diana Aydin wrote about last week? Sure. Rainbows that lead people to something special on the other end of it? Not just in the Land of Oz. Rainbow swarms? Rare, but real. Even rainbows that have a perfect sense of timing to comfort those in need. But this? Running rainbow? Stalker rainbow?
I guess you could say I was no longer worried about icebergs sinking the boat.
Our Alaskan trip was a wild adventure. We saw a bear cub amble out of the woods just a few feet away from us, scrounging for a salmon breakfast. Watched a pod of humpback whales feed on schools of fish while seabirds hovered overhead, waiting for the leftovers.
High seas turned us away from Skagway, our final Alaskan port of call, but the unspoiled beauty of our most northern state made a lasting impression on our group from “the lower 48,” as the locals say. Up there, nature runs wild. Even the rainbows, apparently.
Am I nuts? Or have you seen some pretty crazy rainbows too? Tell us, show us. What did those rainbows mean to you?