My mom says every rainbow is a promise. I’m claiming this one. It’s a special one. I saw it on my way back from St. Louis just before sunset Sunday evening. It was huge and very intense when I first saw it, but before I could find a place to pull over so I could take a picture, it faded and nearly disappeared. Just as I approached an exit ramp, it came back, maybe even brighter than before. It reminded me of little Georgia, fading and then rallying over and over again all weekend.
Before I left for St. Louis on Friday, I spoke with a friend about the twins and my concern for them. My friend advised me to keep my light on, spiritually speaking. He said something to the effect that as long as someone is keeping a light on in some room, the house can’t go totally dark. He told me to keep supplying a warm, welcoming light. He talked about candles, but the vision that came to my thought was of a familiar neon sign cutting through the darkness to welcome a weary traveler.
Coming across western Missouri on I-44, I caught sight of no fewer than four churches with neon crosses glowing softly through the night.
I was hurrying at the time, but I promised myself that I would stop on the return trip and photograph them if I had the energy. The one above is at a church near Waynesville. I want to say it was a Baptist church, but I forgot to write down the name of it.
The one below was outside a Methodist church in Sleeper. Both are quite large — probably 30 or 40 feet high — and visible for a long, long way.
I made it only as far as Lebanon on Sunday night. I’ve never appreciated the Mother Road more. My mom called just as I was approaching the Lebanon exit and asked me to stop for the night so she wouldn’t have to worry about me driving late at night when I was tired. Normally, I’d argue with her, insist on making just a few more miles, and then end up driving all the way home, but I figured she had enough to worry about Sunday night without adding me to the mix, so I kept talking to her until I was safely ensconced under the canopy at the Munger Moss Motel.
I’d left St. Louis wishing I could either get home and sleep in my own bed or stay with family. When Ramona, the owner of the Munger Moss, greeted me in the lobby, it occurred to me that I was staying with family. I’ve known Ramona for several years, and she was very sweet to Oliver and Ashley when they stayed at her motel one night during their honeymoon. She asked me what I was doing out on the road, and I told her it wasn’t a pleasure cruise this time. Of course she was very understanding and very kind when I explained the situation, and she added her own thoughts and prayers to those going out on behalf of Georgia and her parents.
I checked in, went to my room, and slept well for the first time in days.
I slept in this morning, got up around 9:30, and headed home. Despite a long, deep sleep, I was emotionally drained and wasn’t quite ready to face my everyday life again, and I really wasn’t ready to face the traffic on the interstate, so I took the old road from Springfield to Carthage and paid attention to the small blessings along the way.
This is not a spectacular shot. It is not even a good shot. But it is a meaningful shot. I was getting out of the car to take a picture of a bridge, and I was listening to a CD that I’d picked up in the Reading Room a couple of weeks ago. On the CD is a version of the 23rd Psalm. I left the keys in the ignition, as this would be a quick shot, and I could hear the music as I walked toward the bridge. Just as I heard the line “he leadeth me beside the still waters,” I caught sight of this perfectly still creek.
I went ahead and shot the bridge while I was out there:
For those interested in such matters, all these images were taken with a little reconditioned Kodak EasyShare C310 that Ron picked up for $85 on Overstock.com a couple of weeks ago. I’d grabbed his camera on the way out the door because my Canon EOS Rebel (which is a much more expensive piece of equipment) is insured against damage but not against loss or theft, and I wasn’t inclined to leave it inside an unattended vehicle in the middle of a major city for hours and hours. The Kodak has its limitations, but for a cheap little point-and-shoot camera, it performs remarkably well.
I hope someday we’ll have the opportunity to see how well it works at capturing images of my beautiful niece running and playing with us. Please continue to lift up Georgia and her parents in your thoughts and prayers.