Have I ever mentioned that I totally and unconditionally adore Mel Brooks? There’s an episode of Mad About You where Paul and his cousin go to their Uncle Phil’s apartment to move a couch. (Grainy video. Bad sound. Totally worth watching!) Uncle Phil, the source of all Buchman family history, is played by the inimitable Mel Brooks. After the move, they discover a stack of old photos under the couch. Uncle Phil looks at a picture, and proclaims ‘Paulie on a pony!’ He then holds it up to his face and changes his mind and declares it is ‘France!’ Thrilled that the same picture can be multiple things, he moves it back and forth, announcing — Paulie on a pony! France! Paulie on a pony! France! Paulie on a pony! France! Romania! The last bit is when he moves the picture really far away. Priceless moment, it is.
Now for the photo. It had been raining all day. But when the sun announced that it wanted to set, the poor clouds were compelled to take a breather. They stayed gray and overcast, sulking. But we’re not done!, they whined. But the sun ignored them and shone through anyway. Too bad, it said, making it clear who was the boss. And just like that, the rain on my windowpane turned into little drops of molten gold, reflecting the last rays of the sun, as it vanished into the indigo blue of the horizon, on its way to embellish another window and intimidate another cloud.
There’s two things I love about this shot. One, that the sun is nowhere, except within the rain, which is a lovely bit of irony. And two, that the picture looks like a world of spiraling galaxies, mysterious planets and flaming meteors from afar, and yet, up close, imprisons the infinite sunshine within a few drops of rain.
Today, I have my own Paulie on a Pony! France! moment. Happiness comes.