The sky out my driver's side window was washed in such a fierce orange glow that I wondered for a moment if I had missed the headline about a new forest fire. I was racing against myself to get to the cabin where old friends awaited our arrival. I fumbled blindly for my iPhone so I could try to freeze the sky's furious drama without having to slow down.
My big camera spends a lot of time in my camera bag these days, silently rebuking me - transmitting signals that only I receive about how I'm not worthy or that the view in front of me is too simple or too obvious. My iPhone happily shoots whatever banal scene I point it at, without judgement.
Over me the ominus virga of mountain rainclouds started dropping intermittent sprinkles and the road unfurled past the reservoir in a slick black ribbon. I slowed down a little, mindful of my tires worn down by endless repetitions of this drive. With one eye on the iPhone screen scanning past my driver's-side window and one eye on the rain-slicked road ahead of me, it hit me.
Look to the right.
I gasped when I turned.
The foot of a thousand-watt rainbow, perfectly framed in the passenger window, thisclose. I moved the iPhone to my right hand and snapped. Thank god for the iPhone, which doesn't sniff at cliches or make me second guess anodyne beauty.
Then a directive rose from deep in my gut: pull over.
I didn't want to, but the directive pointed out that if you are thisclose to the brightest rainbow you've ever seen in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and you have a big camera in the back and you can't make yourself stop because it's too pretty, you're probably an asshole. Or if you have the next four days with nothing time-sensitive to do, but you're in too much of a rush to pull over? Again, asshole. Not, you know, politician-level asshole or Wall Street banker-level asshole, but still. Just stop the car. Appreciate what's in front of you.
I may be self-absorbed and stuck in my head. I may think too much, about the wrong things. I may try too hard and have too little to show for it. I may be the queen of white girl problems.
But I'd like to think I'm not an asshole.
I pulled over, got out the big camera, snapped on the wide angle lens and gave myself permission to stop thinking and for once, just shoot.