Woman makes peace march | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Woman makes peace march

Merlyn Oliver, Tahoe Daily Tribune

She’s either completely crazy or uncommonly sane.

No matter how you see her, joyous rainbow! (that’s right, lower case name followed by an exclamation point) knows what she wants to do with her life — walk across America spreading a message of peace and compassion.

Rainbow, 48, plans to follow Highway 50 out to the East Coast, ending her walk at the United Nations building in New York City.

“There are billions of us who want to get along,” she said. “We can choose peace. It’s an awareness thing. Life is about choice. The more loving our choices, the more our lives will unfold in a loving manner. It’s about peace for all of us, with no one better than the other.”

Rainbow began her walk at Pollock Pines about a week ago, carrying a backpack and sleeping outside. She walked over Echo Summit wearing a floppy hat and a long hemp dress with “peace” embroidered on the skirt.

On the back of her pack hangs a makeshift sign that reads “Heal Planet Earth.”

“I wave to people,” she said. “Most wave back. They smile. They turn around and ask me what I’m doing. That’s how I meet people.”

Those people have offered her everything from a few nights in their homes to van support as she crosses the Nevada desert. Tahoe Sports, Ltd. sold her a backpack and a pair of athletic shoes at 40-percent off.

“People ask me if I’m scared of bears,” she said. “I tell them I’m more scared of cars. There’s no shoulder on a lot of these roads.”

Rainbow, who was raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., was working for a lumber wholesaler when she decided she wanted to live in a manner that respected all living things.

A vegetarian, she had already observed the life cycles of plants and pondered what lessons they could teach humans. She went on a vision quest in the southern California desert where she prayed, fasted and waited for guidance. It came when she said she saw an image of a Native American chief in the night sky.

“He nodded his head three times when I asked him if this was what I should do,” she said. “I was in such a state. I knew then this peace walk was what I wanted to do with my life.”

Rainbow wants to see more acceptance of same-sex relationships, legalization of marijuana with amnesty, and an end to the commercial abuse of animals bred for human consumption.

“I want humans free to love, animals free to roam, plants free to grow and the spirit free to soar,” she said. “It’s a philosophy of joy.”

Rainbow resumed her walk Friday near El Dorado Beach campground.

“It’s a solo journey, but with a whole lot of help,” she said.

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