In this entry you find images taken by my friend, Nancy Jacob, when she was in Guatemala. Where celebrations of Holy Week with sculptures and processions were in progress. There will be more images in this series of Holy Week posts.
For Maundy Thursday, day of flesh and blood, of bread and wine. Left my dwelling under a low cloud, a cold calendar-spring day. The only vivid color cold blue, just beyond the western edge of cloud. Descending into the village slung along the highway, I looked out toward brown lands, and dark conifers, toward the somber town mountain across the river valley. Nearer: colorless houses, crammed together. Muddy water ran in torrents along the downhill roadside. For all the darkness of cloud above me, the air was surprisingly crisp. It was one of those cleansing Canadian systems, blowing through Western Maine on the day of broken body and blood.
Suddenly, as though propelled by some wind, a young woman blew past me out of the diner. Her hair a covering of red-gold ringlets, she was as a gold cloud to match the suddenly appearing sun. She carried a lit cigarette in her hand like a wand, murmuring something about a rainbow as she passed.
I stepped quickly after her. The rainbow desire was infectious. But there was no bow to be seen. Disappointed, but only slightly less animated, she went back inside, leaving me to continue my walk down the highway.
I would walk to the Gore Road, along the north pond of the highway; would walk to Johnny’s Bridge, look down into the icy water, then walk back home again. I gained the Gore, still thinking about the rainbow and blown gold cloud in human form. May there ever be those who desire rainbows as you do.
I looked off toward the east, toward the view down a white pond backed by somber mountains. That’s when I saw the rainbow, low in the sky among those hills. First of the season. Unadulterated color-light, lounging across the sky. As long as eyes are to witness, there will be rainbows, for the arc of vaporous color is refracted, reflected only in the eye of each beholder. Standing side-by-side, you and I will not see the same rainbow. The bow’s position is 43° above and beyond the shadow of the head beholding it. When conditions are right, glance 43° away from the shadow of your head and you’ll see a personal phenomenon. (Birds, whose brains have an entire lobe devoted to sight, see the bows. Eagles see the constant rain circle circling the sun.)
I looked around, hoping to find someone else seeing her own rainbow. I resisted an urge to run back to the highway and the restaurant, kept walking toward my bow, filling my eyes, and too soon, sure enough, it was gone. Gone in moving cloud.
Praying in Gethsemane
At home I rested under the bed’s headboard, telling Allen, my bearded spouse who sat in light by the window, about Maundy Thursday’s walk, the young woman and the rainbow. And about water in its less spiritual form—that pocked pattern in ice. For bows and ice are both phenomena of water.
And he responded, telling how the bow was a token of God’s covenant. “It’s not a metaphor but a real token of a real covenant.” He smiled. “It’s the arc of the covenant. The only place it can be found is in the sky …. Where we can’t get our hands on it.”