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Chasing Moonbows

My daughter is still sound asleep; my husband left for work this morning with eyes bloodshot; and here I sit, resisting the temptation to go back to bed.

We were up half the night looking for moonbows in Yosemite.

When I first told my husband I wanted to go, he said, "Couldn't we just use the garden hose in the backyard and make our own?"

"No. We're going to Yosemite to see a real one. I want to do this, and we need to do this as a family," I replied sweetly, but firmly. There was no use arguing.

So we made our plans. And last night, we took off.

From our house it's about an hour and-a-half to the Park entrance. (We picked up Brent Gilstrap mid-way.) Once there, it's a bit of a drive to reach the valley floor. (The Merced River was rushing beside us while driving along the highway--so good to see all that water. )

Once inside the Park, we watched for landmarks: the Chapel, Bridal Veil Fall, Ribbon Fall, another Fall (Cascade, I think); then we reached Cook's Meadow with Yosemite Falls across the way. We pulled into the parking lot, which was almost full, and parked.

Close to a dozen photographers were already there with cameras set up on tripods--all pointing toward the Falls. A bit of light remained in the sky, so everyone was just waiting. They were part of a photography workshop.

One guy was reclining on the sidewalk where we stopped. He said, "There's supposed to be a rainbow in the mist."

"Yeah, we know. A moonbow," I told him.

Brent found the photographer/instructor of the group, and they chatted. We stayed there 20 or 30 minutes; by then it was dark. We had arranged to meet friends near Yosemite Lodge, and it was almost nine o'clock, so we got back into the car and headed that way.

Once there, we found a parking spot in another very full lot. (Yosemite is a happenin' place after dark!) I filled everyone's coffee cups again, and headed for the rendezvous point. After waiting 15 minutes or so, we split up. Brent hiked up the trail to set up his camera, and Ron and our daughter and I went back to the car to put some things away, and look for our friends. Once at the car, I checked my cell phone, and found they had left a message, so I called. They were already at the bridge.

So that's where we went. Excited and expectant in hopes of seeing a real moonbow!

Our eyes were finally adjusted to the moonlight, but it was difficult to recognize faces. (Ron wore his blue and white coat, and that's what I looked for all night, being easy to spot.)

We felt the mist as we got closer to the bridge and the Falls. The air was chilly, and the Falls roared.

Once there, we could see the moonbow--one end of it, anyway, as it arched across the stream.

"Oh, look! There it is!" one of us cried--or maybe all of us.

Then we heard familiar voices, and our friends were there right behind us. All at once we were looking and exclaiming over its beauty.

The wind was cold and wet and loud. And there were lots of people. It felt more like a sporting event, as people crowded around various spots of the bridge, moving around and craning their necks to see. Standing room only, as one observer noted.

"Excuse me. Excuse me, please."

"Pardon me."

"Oh, yes, go right ahead."

"Excuse me. Thank you."

There we were, chasing moonbows and tripping over tripods.

"Do you think you all could walk behind the tripods?" one agitated photographer asked.

"Maybe you guys could move forward a little to give us more of a walkway?" was the response. Almost comical.

Our friends were standing at the one side of the bridge, closest to the trail.  Brent was already setting up his gear in the middle of the bridge. Where the cold, windy wetness was the worst. That's one devoted photo guy.

My daughter and I spent the time going back and forth, as the cold became too much at times. We clung to each other like children, trying to keep warm, but not wanting to lose each other in the dark. My husband stayed with Brent, helping and learning whatever he could.

When we weren't moving (and tripping over tripods), we just stood--in awe. From the middle of the bridge, of course, we could see most of the moonbow. A gorgeous white arch reaching through the mist and across the water.

Our friends commented that there was some color to it, sort of fading in and out with the moonlight. And almost immediately, my daughter yelled, "I can see color! I can see the color! Mom, can you see it?"

I looked, and I could. Just faintly. But, yes, there was a thin strip of red across the top, with white in the middle and a blueish-green strip at the bottom of the bow.

"Yes, I can! Wow! It's beautiful!" I told her.

Then she was thrilled.

"You can, Mom? Oh! Mom! You're not too old! You can see the colors!" she said, hugging me. (Professor Olson mentioned in his articles that colors are usually difficult to see, unless you're young.)

Whenever we stood still to watch, in sheer amazement, she wrapped her arms around me and layed her head on my shoulder. This sweet teen of mine who's now as tall as me, was in paradise for one brief night. She kept saying things like, "Yosemite is so beautiful. The moonbow is so beautiful. I've never seen anything so beautiful."

When we moved here six years ago, it had been hard for her to leave her childhood friends and the home she grew up in. All this time she's wished we hadn't come here. Until last night. When I asked her about it, she said, "Yes, Mom. I'm glad we came to California."

I've rarely seen her so happy or so mesmerized.

In those sacred, shared moments, I worshiped the Creator Who made the moonbows.  The One Who made Yosemite, and everything else--Who so generously and lovingly beckons us to come find Him in all that's beautiful, even in the moonlight. 

(On our way back to the car, my husband agreed it was worth the trip--better than the garden hose in the backyard experiment.)

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament reveals His handiwork. - the Bible