Hill-top living gives us great views, from the deer trails crisscrossing our lower meadow, through the rolling Gold Rush foothills and on East about 60 miles to the jagged peaks of the High Sierra.
But hilltop living also means full-force gales when winter storms pound and thrash the region.
We had a string of winter storms bluster through last week, boisterous and bullying with sheets of rain so powerful that windshield wipers slapping back-and-forth at top-speed could not keep up.
When the wind wasn’t howling and tearing at the eaves, fists of rain were pounding freshly opened wildflowers into pulp.
And then came the hail. From a quarter of an inch to an inch in diameter. A full-force waterfall of hail, pounding the metal roof so relentlessly we had to shout to be heard inside our house. The hard little ice-balls piled up until the ground was white and still they fell.
Farther up the mountain, snow whipped through the pines and across the highways with such demented fury that most drivers just pulled off the road and waited.
It was one rip-roaring winter storm after another, swaggering through what should have been our early spring.
And during the ever-so-brief lulls, the sky would thicken and lower, cloud-crammed and threatening as if all of nature was saying, "Don’t think for a moment that I’m through with you!"
It was during one of those lulls Friday evening that I glanced out the window and was struck breathless by a huge, brilliant rainbow rising right beyond our driveway. It soared in a complete arc over the garage and ended farther up the hill beyond my writer’s cottage.
Sweetheart and I both grabbed our cameras and ran out the door, determined to photograph this spectacular light show. We snapped away from the porch, the driveway, up the hill, behind the house, a dozen different locales for about 15 minutes. By then we were both so cold from the chill wind and rain that our teeth were chattering. I ran back in and got a sweater and kept on clicking. I was afraid that any minute the stunning beauty would fade out and disappear.
But it stayed right there in all its glory for 29 minutes before it began to fade.
There’s nothing like being drenched in rainbow light. No wonder these luminous arcs of color have inspired countless fairytales, songs and legends.
The picture I’ve posted here is one of the many I took during that exciting, chilling, inspiring half-hour. I took this from the shelter of our porch. You may be able to see a secondary bow to the left.