My seven year old son, the fifth of my seven children, burst into the house the other day, like a wild wind that my back porch door had no chance of holding back. Excited and breathless, he slapped his hands to his legs sending two clouds of dust upward into the sunlight streaming in my back kitchen window, and shouted, "Dad, Dad come and see. Thereís gonna be a sun shower!"
I chuckled as I looked at his gleaming eyes, at the little beads of sweat under his dirt streaked nose, the gray stained T-shirt that was supposed to be white, the summer dusty jeans, and his sweat and grit coated bare feet. If there was a dirt clod to be kicked, a gopher hole to be dug out, a fort to be built, a puddle to wade in, a frog to be caught, a bug to be tortured, or hill to be rolled down, this guy would find it. I said, "OK wild boy. Iíll be right out." and he spun around in a cloud of dust and blew back out my constantly abused porch door.
I stepped out onto the back porch, into the promise of a genuine phenomenon. In the middle of my back yard, my nine year old son, the fourth of my seven, was standing shirtless, hands in pockets, staring up at a perfectly halved sky. The northwestern half was a bright sunny summer sky. The southeastern half was full and black with clouds. It was my nine year old who had noticed the sky. It was he who had predicted the sun shower. He was the thinker, the observer. He experienced life as something to be watched, enjoyed, and occasionally understood. His deepest satisfaction came from understanding.
The two boys were as much a contrast to each other as the halves of that split sky. One lived for the joy of comprehending the mysteries of life, while the other lived in the mystery with all his passion. I love and cherish them both for their individual qualities and personalities, but I love them both together, sharing a single life experience, even more.
My nine year old lowered his eyes, and looking intently toward the east, trotted over to seek shelter under a tree, just as a few large cold raindrops splattered on the leaves. My seven year old began laughing hysterically and careening around the yard like a leaf in a storm, as the rain grew heavier. Inevitably he slipped and fell on his face. Giggling he remained briefly prostrate and then jumped up yelling, "A rainbow! A rainbow!" He was covered in mud and grass. My nine year old looked at him and laughed, a loud warm laugh, and then turned to the east as a smile of satisfaction crossed his face.
As I stepped back under the eave of the house, I saw the rainbow arced across the split sky over both the boys. In my life, whenever these two boys were together, they would always be a sun shower, a contrast, even a paradox to me. I hoped that their love for each other would always arc above them and their differences, like a fabulous rainbow. I hoped that they would be able to accept whatever became a paradox for them in this life without being destroyed by it. I hoped that they would help each other to find whatever magic it took for them to splash that rainbow across the questions without answers.
T M Malo