My daughter Elizabeth, who died in a car crash at age 15, so loved rainbows that she sometimes signed her name with a rainbow over it. I found this rendering of an umbrella done when she was about 4 years old. It's raining rainbows.

Sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, thick clouds and fog–even frozen fog: Images of these remind me of how often our group of women writers have sought out light, hoped for clear blue skies, shared the images of sunlight streaming in shafts from a cloud in a moment of grace.

My grandmother gave me a “weather report” daily during most of my childhood. It will be good weather for canning beets today, she would say, and I would try to hide behind one of the oak trees to avoid being her stirrer. The steam and heat from the ghoulish burgundy orbs in the black iron pot over the fire–outside even in October because it was too hot to cook them inside–made August seem temperate and balmy. My arms nearly twisted out of their sockets as I stirred and stirred those beets. For years, I associated “double, double, toil and trouble” with my  beet stirring experience and avoided eating beets, but now I am enjoying them again. I do steam just a few at a time in a stainless steel steamer though. And I have passed her cauldron of an iron pot to one of my sons.

Grandma Anna’s feet and hands told her that rain or snow or icy weather was approaching, and now I know it wasn’t quite magic that she could foretell the weather and was always right. I didn’t know then that arthritic joints could also forecast weather events.

Despite her always finding jobs for me–breaking beans and memorizing family genealogy, sweeping inside where I found the black snake under the china cabinet and outside where I disturbed hornets and paid the penalty, gathering “toothbrushes” from the blackgum trees for her snuff dipping–she did teach me to look at clouds and fog and October blue skies and appreciate that the world was larger than my small speck of it.

And this month, I have even loved the October blue skies again. I still miss my daughter fiercely and unrelentingly, but I allowed the memory of the walks and play under the most intensely blue October skies with her and her brothers to be amplified. I watched the umbrella spill rainbows. I spent some of the days in mid-October with my five granddaughters, the daughters of my two sons, and their families. It has taken fifteen years to love the reflection of the deep blue October skies again.                                                                                                                                                                         ~Kay Windsor

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