The Rainbow Comes & Goes

The Rainbow Comes & Goes
The Rainbow Comes & Goes

“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.

 

 

25 Comments

  1. Aquileana

    Sounds like a great reading which leaves is thinking about how powerful certain relationships and people could be for us. I always watch CNN and Anderson Cooper is a favorite, so this review reached me from the very beginning. Sending love and best wishes, dear Rebecca 💞 Aquileana

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      Sending love right, best wishes and a little rain right back to you. We are autumn and you are spring. There is a ring to that idea. I have always enjoyed Anderson Cooper’s ability to connect various ideas from different perspectives – not an easy thing to do. Thank you for stopping by. Life is so good!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Letizia

    I enjoyed reading this book – more than I thought I would. And it also reminded me to talk to my parents, really talk, question them about their lives more. I love Anderson’s relationship with his mother.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      I’m with you Letizia – I was surprised by how much this influenced my thoughts on preserving conversations. Once something is is writing, it marks the time of the event, the emotions and the thoughts that occurred. I admire the diarists of history and of our time. I tried on several occasions to start a journal, but alas considered that other “things” were more important. I would have enjoyed looking back at myself at 18 years old. Blogging is an invaluable tool for it brings together two things: Writing a diary and having a dialogue with others. I have enjoyed our conversations and look forward to many more…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Christy B

    I’m intrigued by the audio format sometimes. I’ve only read a handful of books that way so far but admit it’s nice to give my eyes a rest. Now I realize that in the cased of this particular book it has also enabled you to be closer to both Anderson and Gloria. On the topic of Gloria.. she is magnificent and I can only imagine the stories she shared in the book! Another great post, my reading friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ms Frances

    A excellent post, to say the least! I, too, admire Anderson Cooper’s sensible and wise commentaries. This book will be on my “must read” list. There is a special place in my heart for rainbows coming from my early experience on the prairies of Nebraska. We often witnessed double rainbows, one on top and above the other, and often after a very heavy rain accompanied by a very strong wind. It seemed to breathe safety, calm and promise of peace. I believe the rainbow was created for just that!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother

      You will enjoy this book immensely. The conversation is open, honest and devoid of commercialism, which is not a easy feat given their notoriety. This is simply a dialogue between mother and son, who have experienced the ups and downs of life and are not afraid to express opposing opinions. I am delighted that you have placed it on your reading list!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Klausbernd

    Dear Rebecca,
    oh dear, now Dina asked me to write something about the symbolism of the rainbow. First of all all symbols are going back to their physics. In the rainbow the one – the light – is broken into many – the colours. That happens because opposite forces come together, the fire of the sun and the water causing a prismatic refraction.
    Following the Talmud and Kabbala you are not allowed to watch the rainbow because it leads to God.
    Iris the Greek goddess of the rainbow is the messanger of the gods (like the Roman Mercurius). The Greek and Romans believed that the rainbow connects the two opposites men and Gods.
    Unusual is an African understanding of the rainbow as an engulfing wild animal.
    We find it most interesting that the oneness becomes a multitude and therefore the rainbow is the classic symbol of creativity – but of an illusion as well, because it hasn’t a fixed place and no end.
    Just some ideas.
    With a big hug and lots of love
    Klausbernd xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother

      My dear Klausbernd – thank you so much for adding depth and breadth to the discussion. Our conversations over the past years have given me a insight into mythology and symbolism, in particular how we understand our relationship to the infinite and sacred. About 15 years ago I read Carl Jung’s “Memories, Dreams, Reflections.” It was not an easy read for me because I have always approached life with a more objective stance, where 2 + 2 = 4. You have reminded me that symbolism cannot be represented with a simple equation. Your posts have be a guide to my exploration into symbolism. I am looking forward to many more conversations. Would you mind if I quoted your comments in upcoming posts. Sending many hugs and love back to you across the pond.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Klausbernd

        Dear Rebecca
        😐 sorry, I have to be very short because I have to learn my lecture – oh dear, that are more than two hours talking (by the way about the symbolism of shit, well, you read that right)
        😊 thank you so much for your really kind words.
        Yes, I don’t mind being quoted by you, I rather feel honoured!
        Big 🤗 Hugs and lots of love ❤️
        🚶Klausbernd 💐✨💫💥

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Dina

    What a lovely post, Rebecca. I can double read your comments on this book as I have just returned from Norway where I spent some time with my mother. She is not the youngest and the fittest after a stroke (but definetely younger at heart and in her own mind as her physical state).
    I’m not sure if I get this book as an audio book, but it’s on my list, thank you for this recommandation, this is normally not a bok I’d go for. 🙂
    A rainbow is strong and powerful sight, peaceful and it inspires metaphor and simile. Virginia Woolf in To the Lighthouse highlights the transience of life and Man’s mortality through Mrs Ramsey’s thought, “it was all as ephemeral as a rainbow”. When we were in Dublin, we learned that the Irish leprechaun’s secret hiding place for his pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow. This place is impossible to reach, because the rainbow is an optical effect which depends on the location of the viewer. When walking towards the end of a rainbow, it will appear to “move” further away (two people who simultaneously observe a rainbow at different locations will disagree about where a rainbow is). Also, a rainbow is in fact a full circle, we usually only see the half arc of it due to our positioning in respect to it; if you were to be positioned higher up (such as on a tall building or an airplane) then you could view it’s actual full circle. So in reality there is no end to a rainbow, just as there is no end to a circle. Therefore, that ‘end of the rainbow’ is in other words an impossible/non-existent place.

    Klausbernd is busy working on his lecture for Germany next week, but I’ll look into his book about symbolism and get back to you. 🙂

    Have a great new week, Rebecca!
    Love and hugs from all four of us,
    Dina
    P.S.
    We ‘re quite excited about our next holiday; an extensive 4 week roadtrip through all the remotes places in Scotland.:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      My dear Dina!! Thank you so much for your profound thoughts on the rainbows, particularly the idea of different viewpoints depending on positioning. A reminder to me that being flexible will grant me a wider and more encompassing view of the world around me. I have just requested Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse” from the Vancouver Public Library in audiobook format. (I do love our new technology) Just recently, I had been reading a short biographical article! Serendipity!

      You must tell me more about your 4 week road trip to the remote places in Scotland. Exciting!!! Will be in contact. Would you mind if I quoted you on these comments in upcoming posts? Much love and many hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      You will enjoy this book immensely for there is a warm understanding that comes from the exchange. While they have differing opinions, there is an overarching love and joy that is found in their relationship. Yes, I am going to have a conversation with my mother, something that I have been thinking about for several years. I’m looking at letters and photos, which I am placing on a private blog for the moment. I am not as brave as Anderson Cooper and his mother, which I most admired about them. Their courage to share difficult moments with the entire world was inspiring. Thank you for your encouragement – so very very much appreciated. Hugs and love to and you marvelous family coming your way…

      Liked by 1 person

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