(Say, we, Daily Laborers, briefly time out and temper on laugh, All Saints and All Soul’s Days hovering ahead. Perhaps, pause, we, for moments to remember the departed, re-kindling memories, for we can’t fail to bear a happy countenance, cheerful as any of our fellow-mortals, knowing our departed stay steadfast and warmed by the Almighty Life Giver. If only for that, no more, no less.)
A solitary woman, Marietta Bategis, 57, was tending last October 11 to her corn patch and assortment of grown lowland vegetables in their home below the mountains separating Baguio City and Burgos municipality, La Union, when a rainbow began shaping itself over part of the magnificent landscape.
Marietta was, with reason, a melancholy and grief-haunted. Her husband – she loved him very much- died in 2015, followed by death of her second son a year later.
As she sat for rest, the apparition’s growing beauty sensibly touched her with a delighted happiness to which she had for a considerable time, been a stranger.
As the varied brightness of the arch, which as yet was scarcely united, but showed only several glowing fragments, gradually became more vivid, her whole being felt joy; sorrow and despondency somewhat faded.
Gazing, the rainbow became perfect and banded the Benguet, La Union mountains and sky together. It illuminated two mountains, and the valley where she was appeared to her a mysterious entrance into another portal to another valley.
Sides of the two mountains, rent with chasms, some spaces devoid of trees, some spaces clumped with trees saved from wanton felling, were steeped in the beautiful stains of the arch, so the mountains seemed clothed with varying colors, more dominant with gold, but more of glittering sparkle.
Before long, the rainbow regaled to dissolve, the arch’s summit gave way, as the gorgeous colors, forsaking the sky, embodied themselves in a mass of splendor on each sides of the mountains. For a few moments, the mountains edges were veiled and hidden in that radiance.
But it gradually melted away into colorless air. The atmosphere was again open, bits of showery clouds seen hanging opposite the sun, were all that tarried to tell of a vanished rainbow.
But the mountains glittered in freshened beauty. Off to her left, a bird chirped. Below the valley, a cow mowed, jubilee in nature’s condescending silence.
Not only hushed in the breathing repose of nature, but all rural labor was at rest. And it might almost have been said that the motionless clouds, the fragrant air, the deep blue sky vault and the still earth were all united together in one sweet spirit of devotion.
“What a beautiful rainbow,” Marietta whispered to herself, with tears in her eyes. There, alone in her garden patch, she prayed that God would send peace to her heart.
A part of the sun was trying to peep, dissolving the distant clouds into a gentle shower, over the mountains.
She had been a melancholy woman. Minds of that character are often the most apt to give way to sudden emotions. Does it require long time, days, weeks, months, years, to enable human beings to forget the ones they loved and lost? Her question drifted with the wind.
Does the human heart slowly lay up one kind of yearning after the other, till the measure of its affection be full, and gentle words and kindling smiles pass from the lips when a loved one is gone? It may be.
At the back of her mind, Marietta knew she and her children needed to go to the cemetery that week to clean the graves of her husband and child.
Last October 25, they went to the cemetery. After cleaning, they partook of their food, while watching others clean the graves of their loved ones.
As they sat, Marietta began to feel, for the first time, that her husband and lost child seemed beside her and that her affliction (of melancholy) does not close up the fountains of love in the human soul.
She began to comprehend that the saddest turn often results in sudden restoration to be gay and joyful, the realization coming in like light streaming in upon a prisoner through the bars of her prison cell.
For the first time since 2015, Marietta became serene. There was calmness in her spirit.
The afternoon of that day, thunderclouds overshadowed the cemetery and the outlying areas. Then it began to pour. Marietta and her sons, Teofilo,19, Rowena, 17 and Sandro, 14, secreted themselves under a tree and waited out the rain that pelted for at least an hour.
As fast as it came, the rain disappeared. It was time to go home.
As her children watched, Marietta placed her fingers on her lips then gently laid them down on the tombs of her husband and child.
Then she whispered, “Goodbye, but not goodbye. My husband, my child, you can always find us, your family at home – where your hearts forever are.” As she murmured these words, Rowena, her only daughter, clutched her mother and wiped a tear.
They wended their way away from the cemetery, towards the national road.
About a kilometer or more from the cemetery, Rowena turned and looked back. For a moment she was silent. Then she exclaimed, “Mama, Mama, Look, a rainbow!”
Marietta and her two sons turned around. Was it an illusion? No, it wasn’t. Because the other end of the arch of the rainbow was rooted at exactly where Marietta husband and child’s tombs were, and its other end traversing somewhere upwards the Naguillian National Highway.