Embraced by a Rainbow

Laura Lansberry

Words are not necessary for Joan and me, and Tucson itself gave us a sign. If one believes in such things. Hard as it is for me I do, at times, believe in signs, and I believe in the one that happened to us. It was a sign that even a jaded skeptic such as me can not entirely put from mind, a sign so extraordinary that the memory gives me a pleasant warm glow to recall.

It began when Joan and I were driving down I-10, somewhere close to mile marker 231. We were talking, small talk to make light of a long drive, and unexpectedly a most miraculous event took place, something that surely must be one of the most unique experiences two human beings have ever been privileged to experience.

When we arrived home I insisted that Joan and I both write our impressions of the event, recording the event for all time:

Joan's version:
July 4th, 1991

We have had a most magical night. While heading back home from visiting Laura's mother we saw a rainbow. That is magical enough in itself. But this was no ordinary rainbow. We saw where the rainbow touched down on one end, making the trees rainbow-hued. Then as we approached, we saw both ends of the rainbow at the same time, each coloring the ground on either side of the highway.

As we drove on, the ends got closer and closer together until our car was inside them. Laura saw something even more magical than I. She saw the two ends come together and make a complete circle. This was only for a brief second. Then we both saw the two ends of the rainbow enter the car, filling it with a golden light. It was beautiful beyond all description.

My version:
July 4, 1991 Thursday, the same day of the week as on July 4th 1776. It is 6:30 PM as I begin this writing. Joan and I had been driving along I-10, returning from a visit to Goodyear. We stopped at a convenience store at Picacho Peak about 5 PM. We left there at approximately 5:30.

At mile marker 231 we noticed a storm gathering over Tucson ahead of us. A light rain began to the left and in front of us, a drizzle really, and to the right and behind us the sun was shining brightly and there was no rain at all. In front of us I saw a bright rainbow that passed over the road from left to right. A lighter rainbow was behind the bright one. Very dim and distant. It occurred to me that we would be driving through the arc of a rainbow and what a marvelous thing that would be.

I was behind the wheel and as I drove the rainbow kept getting bigger and brighter and in less than a minute I noticed that the trees and landscape on both sides of the road were illuminated by the ends of the rainbow. We could see both ends of the rainbow at the same time. It was marvelous! As I drove on the rainbow seemed to rush down upon us and the ends kept coming closer and closer together. As we continued the ends closed directly in front of the car and then, for one glorious second, a heartbeat and no more, I saw the rainbow lift and hang suspended, an unimaginably astounding rainbow ring suspended elliptically above me. The ring, with all its colors, was suspended in the air directly above the hood of the car. The highest portion of the ring was far overhead, up and away. Almost in the same moment the rainbow formed in front of us that magnificent ring entered the car, illuminating for a brief moment both Joan and me in hues of yellow, orange, and gold. I felt a tingling through my entire body, not a euphoric feeling as if from some emotional reaction to the experience, but rather a feeling as if some form of energy was infusing my body. With the passing of the rainbow Joan affirmed a feeling of having been blessed, especially selected to see this wondrous sight. I too felt as though something beyond human experience had taken place, that we had been given a sign by fate, by destiny, or by deity.

Was it a sign? Or like the aurora borealis was it but a natural phenomenon, rarely seen and less rarely reported? It is my fondest hope that this magical event was indeed a sign, a sign telling this weary warrior that her battles have not been in vain, that my life has had meaning and purpose. A silly notion perhaps, but a pleasant thought to contemplate and an uplifting thought with which to conclude my story. May you never weaken in your struggles, or doubt your day will dawn, and may you one day find yourself wrapped in the arms of a rainbow.

Laura's Memorial
Selected Pages From Laura's Website