“My mother comes from a vanished world, a place and a time that no longer exist. I have always thought of her as a visitor stranded here; an emissary from a distant star that burned out long ago.” Anderson Cooper
This is not my usual reading choice. I confess the title caught my attention; rainbows are a powerful symbol of hope, of connection to the past and to other worlds. North mythology spoke of a burning rainbow bridge “Bifrost,” as the link between the gods in Asgard and humanity in Midgard (earth). In ancient Japan, ancestor used rainbows to visit earth. For the Navajos, rainbows are the paths taken by holy spirits. Whenever I see a rainbow I feel a lift of my spirits as if, for a moment in time, I have glimpsed into a realm of infinite possibilities.
And besides rainbows, I enjoy Anderson Cooper’s insightful journalism. As for Gloria Vanderbilt, the name alone envisions a woman of great strength and courage; a woman who lived her life in the limelight with grace and equanimity
On her birthday, Gloria Vanderbilt wrote to her son,
“91 years ago on this day, I was born. I recall a note from my Aunt Gertrude, received on a birthday long ago. “Just think, today you are 17 whole years old!” she wrote. Well, today — I am 91 whole years old — a hell of a lot wiser, but somewhere still 17. What is the answer? What is the secret? Is there one?”
Ah, those are marvelous questions.
I chose audio-book format, which I would highly recommend. Hearing their voices places listeners in the center of the discussion between a mother and son. As I listened, I realized that I wanted to record conversations with my mother, to share ideas between generations. Time moves ever forward; the only way our stories are remembered is if we write them down.
Rainbows come and go in life; times of celebration and grieving mark our journey. William Wordsworth says it the best in “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”
The Rainbow comes and goes, And lovely is the Rose,The Moon doth with delight Look round her when the heavens are bare, Waters on a starry night Are beautiful and fair;The sunshine is a glorious birth; But yet I know, where’er I go, That there hath past away a glory from the earth.