"In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now & here. God culminates in the present moment and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages." -- Henry Thoreau
I rested my weary lower body & waited for the approaching sunset with Uluru centered in the backdrop. I was not sure what to expect, but Australian sunsets had proved quite stunning thus far; throw in a global icon and I just assumed there would be something magical to see. Utes packed the Lasseter & the viewing area (I had one of the few cars). The clouds that were overhead earlier in the day multiplied, spread & changed into foreboding shades of gray.
Next to me two couples road-tripping together unfolded a portable table & 4 champagne glasses. The lighthearted group relaxed, exchanged jokes, ate cheese, and unwinded with bubbly, like they were sitting 'round a campfire. On my other side a French woman was sketching the rock with colored charcoal, trying to capture the changing pastels of the sky.
...but nothing really happened. There was no "ah ha" moment. No one gasped in awe. However, the clouds continued to swirl & close in. They blocked the already fading sunlight. I felt a few raindrops and watched them make craters in the red sand as they impacted. That was enough to cause the sated couples -- and most of the crowd -- to pack up & return to Yulara.
Then something magical truly did occur. In the middle of the desert, in the peak of winter, amid the driest month on the continent: it rained! The break in the clouds let in just enough sunlight to bestow Mother Nature's full glory. Now, the remaining people gawked. I quietly shrieked in amazement. Vehicles sped down the highway, unaware of this phenomenon: a chunk of rainbow to the left & right of Uluru that framed it perfectly.
After a few photos, the fragments of rainbow disappeared entirely... only to reappear directly above the rock!
I thought "How many photographers have waited ages for this opportunity?" and there it was, happening live. This was more than dumb luck or coincidence. It was divine.
Captivated by Mother Nature's unpredictability, I raced back to the campsite at Yulara because I didn't want to miss the night sky show I had signed up for. The program allowed visitors to the edge of Yulara where there was an educational segment about Southern Hemisphere astronomy along with powerful telescopes for viewing. The cloud coverage that beautifully created a rainbow above Uluru in turn cancelled the evening sky show.
The cancellation was alright with me since I would be in town another day (before continuing north to King's Canyon). How could I possibly be let down? I had arrived at my heart's mecca & explored its every line, topped only by a vibrant rainbow in the middle of the desert. The day left me emotionally & physically exhausted. Unable to see the stars, I popped open some canned tuna and sunk into my cozy sleeping bag.