Even though I know the science behind rainbows, I feel a sense of wonder whenever one appears in the sky. Isn’t this sensation one that everybody has felt?
The thrill still happens even if there is only a short arc of a rainbow, but is more intense when the rainbow stretches 180-degrees. Of course, there are the more rare double rainbows for an especially photogenic experience.
I don’t understand the people who do not pause their busy activities to ponder the loveliness of a rainbow when one appears in the sky. The beauty of the rainbow could help them feel more calm, happy, and connected with the Universe.
Sometimes, when it’s been awhile since I last enjoyed a rainbow in the sky, I’ll enable a small-scale rainbow myself. I adjust the sprayer attachment on the garden hose to the “mist” setting then aim the water droplets away from the sun-rays. If there is no garden hose nearby and when I’m indoors, a simple glass prism will suffice to project the spectrum of colors onto a wall or the floor.
“In 1978, the first flag was organic everything. It did have eight colors: the six colors of the rainbow we see today plus hot pink and turquoise. But pretty quickly on I realized that I would never be able to satisfy the demand for them by hand-dying fabric and these colors.”–creator of the original rainbow flag Gilbert Baker
Living in a small Nebraska city, I rarely see a rainbow flag displayed by anyone. There are perhaps only two or three homes in Norfolk where the rainbow flag is regularly flown. Once in a blue Moon I see a vehicle with an unmolested rainbow flag bumper sticker. These rainbow flags make me feel so happy.
Perhaps we Midwestern, small town folks are too frightened that our homes and cars will be vandalized by people who hate the flag. It seems so sad that anyone could hate a beautiful, colorful flag that is positively inclusive of people everywhere on Earth.
It is especially terrible that there are oppressive regimes that will imprison anyone who dares to display the rainbow flag. Many people have been killed simply because they waved a rainbow flag. Whenever I see an image of a cleric or radical desecrating a rainbow flag, I want to find a big rainbow flag to wave in solidarity with the people who are being oppressed.
But I digress. This meditation on rainbows was not intended as a political, human rights screed. America is comprised of a rainbow of people from every nation on Earth. Each of us presents a rainbow range of experiences and stories. It is our variety that gives us strength and beauty. Regardless of majority party in office, it is the promise of the rainbow variety of the people that remains at the heart of the democratic republic.
“My mother had a lot of parties when I was a child. There’d always be a moment when she would place me on the upright piano and have me sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.”–Rufus Wainwright
It’s not surprising that the Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg song remains nearly as popular now as it was in 1939. We can sing it or listen to it and remember Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” or simply enjoy the song as a tribute to the wonder of rainbows. The song is such a joy to hear. Judy Garland’s signature song has also been covered by such notable singers as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and several others.
Rainbows have inspired people throughout the ages–from everyday people in awe of the phenomenon to artists who have created masterpieces of posterity. Each one of us has a unique reaction every time we see a rainbow; that, in itself, is the spirit of rainbows.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes journalist, historian Alice Dreger. “Ironically, when I’ve asked my straight friends to join me in hanging a rainbow flag, they answer, ‘But someone might think we’re gay,’ not realizing that is exactly the point. To be mistaken for the oppressed is to momentarily become the oppressed.”