Friday, September 4, 2009

Querencia double rainbows mark a soul’s true home

By S. Derrickson Moore/Sun-News reporter

LAS CRUCES — I was looking forward to the end of a 12-hour day at the office.
I admit I was a little crabby as I headed to a press conference that was late in starting.
It was an outside event with no shelter. It was hot and muggy. Then it started to rain. After almost two decades in Oregon, I always have at least four umbrellas, but that day, I’d left them all in the car, parked a few blocks away.
“How could this day get any worse?” I was thinking, when suddenly it got a lot better.
I was coaxed out of my refuge under the arches of the Rio Grande Theatre by a chorus of “Ooooo”s and “Ahhhhh”s.
Arching across the sky was one of the most spectacular double rainbows I’ve seen. One of the ends, at least from my perspective, seemed to glow around the crosses of the ethereal, skeletal St. Genevieve monument.
I’ve always taken rainbows personally. They are clearly messages from heaven.
I know some cultures see them as dire omens. But not mine. After the devastating floods, in Genesis 9:12-13, God tells Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
And who could ignore a double rainbow?
Even people who never stop to smell the roses would find it nearly impossible to pause for a rainbow display in the Land of Enchantment, where I’ve seen the best rainbows in a life of global travels.
New Mexico is the only place I’ve seen a snowbow, a pastel milagro I spotted early one winter morning when I was headed to work in Las Cruces in a haze of crystal flurries.
This state is also the only place I’ve glimpsed a full moon rainbow, again in Las Cruces, and at least half a dozen triple rainbows.
There was one the day I left Santa Fe for Florida, a break in the midst of a major deluge, and I saw another triple rainbow seven years later in Las Cruces, when I moved here.
Maybe a rainbow’s meaning is not always crystal clear and maybe, like so many messages from a source of greater wisdom, we inadvertently or willfully misinterpret them.
But a rainbow can compel the most obvious among us to pause, and as noted, a double or triple rainbow definitely gets my attention.
Does a rainbow portend a leave-taking or a homecoming? Is it time to park the ark and settle down or sail on for greener shores? Sometimes I take stock and realize many of the people I love most in the world live hundreds or thousands of miles away, including a half dozen erstwhile Las Crucens who have become my dearest amigo-soulmates, discovered in the Land of Enchantment, whose lives and duties called them elsewhere.
There are moments to ponder, even among those of us who feel we have found our querencia. And I think about that lovely Spanish word that conjures a soul’s home, a very special, even destined, relationship between a person and a special place.
Can a city, a querencia community, be a soulmate in itself? I’d say so.
I’d think at the very least, I might be able to reassure my friends at the Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market that it’s okay to move to the Rio Grande Theatre/St. Genevieve block, at least for a little while.
That is, after all, where the double rainbow seemed to end.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.

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