For about an hour each day, we get Tina out of bed and into her wheelchair. We often go for a “walk and a talk,” a “roll and a stroll” outside, weather permitting. Recently, we have been treated to a daily rainbow from the brilliant interaction of the sun and the mist from the sprays used to water the golf course adjacent to our property.
We almost never see natural rainbows. We avoid going out when it is raining, and even when it is raining, the sun is rarely shining on the rain, which is what is needed to paint these pretty colored ribbons in the sky.
Fall afternoons have been cool enough, yet not too cold, to bring Tina out. Warmer days aggravate her symptoms. With sunlight coming from the west and at our backs, if we get close to the golf course’s ninth-hole irrigating spray, and if I push her chair into a favorable position, we see a lovely little rainbow, our rainbow.
Well … it is not exactly ours. We are willing to share it with others who would appreciate it, too, but most of the cars that pass us by have drivers who are too hurried to observe it. They have little time to stop and smell the flowers, or to view our rainbow.
Nature and technology combine to form the beautiful rainbow. Nature and technology have extended Tina’s precious life, sustained with help from her doctors and nurses and by her ventilator and other medical equipment.
What does “our rainbow,” generated by technology and nature together, suggest? Better days to come? That technology will one day free those now shackled? Yes.
The poet John Keats wrote, “beauty is truth,” an overstatement, as he knew. Still, the beauty of “our rainbow” brings us pleasure … and hope.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., a retired environmental physicist, lives in southern New York State with his beloved wife, Tina Su Cooper, a former editor at the Encyclopedia Britannica and mother of two. Tina was first diagnosed with MS in 1981 at the age of 37, and she has been quadriplegic and ventilator-dependent at home for almost eight years. Tina is the central figure in Dr. Cooper’s book, Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, available from Amazon. Barnes and Noble, or their website, tingandi.com.