I searched for inspiration and I came back with nothing. The rain, and everything around me felt suffocating and I escaped into the gloom and the drizzle outside looking for a spark—a tiny glow to set me on my way.
The beach was cold—the water grey and angry. I brought a blanket and laid it on the wet sand. For an hour I sat and stared at the choppy surf, and I thought about everything I’d written and about everything I had left to write and about the looming, dark cloud of fear and doubt that always seemed to hover, present even on the days when the sun did shine.
I saw her on the horizon—beautiful, clothed in a million colors, endless fountains of sparkle and glitter and light, like hope made visible. Carefully she worked, her bucket dipping into the ocean and then up to the sky, again and again until her movements were indistinguishable one from the next.
She smiled when she saw me, and I smiled back. It was impossible not to, even when I felt determined to be gloomy. “What are you doing, on this extremely depressing day?” I asked her. “It’s not a day for optimism, didn’t you know?”
She laughed. “It’s my job,” she said. “To fill the clouds with water, to unite the sea and the sky, to bridge the divide between heaven and Earth.” She smiled again. “I am here when things look the bleakest. Search for me, and you’ll always find that tiny bit of sunshine on even the rainiest day.” Turning away she continued her work, lighting the darkness for everyone lucky enough to see her.
I’ve always loved seeing rainbows. They always seem to be there, gorgeous and hopeful, right when you need them. In Greek mythology Iris was the goddess of rainbows, her responsibility to connect the heavens and the Earth and fill the clouds with water from the sea. When I see a rainbow I think about her, about the rain that can seem so bleak but is essential to create the rainbow that follows.
I returned home and wrote for a long time. I wrote about the things and the people I’d seen on my walk but mostly about her, that glorious vision of light and promise. And when I fell asleep that night I dreamed about millions of blazing colors.