August 09, 2005

connecting to rainbows

This morning a rainbow kept me company most of the way to work, a good long one with about forty degrees showing I don't think I ever saw a rainbow, or not more than a tiny sliver of one, until I grew up. The city I was born, raised and educated in is not a good place for them, because of weather patterns, topology, architecture, and vegetation. I think there probably are fewer of them to begin with, because there are hills but no tall mountains to snag clouds, and so the weather patterns are a wider-spread and more uniform. Showers in one part of the sky and sun in another are not unknown, but they're notable. Here, on the other hand, rainstorms can be watched coming in and going away, and more often than not there is sun in part of the sky except while the storm is right overhead. Also, in my birth city, rowhouses crowd in, not tall but close together, and the streets between them are lined with tees, so that a much smaller sliver of the sky can be seen. Walking in the city feels more like being in a canyon lidded with an angle of sky, than as here, being on a plain roofed with as bowl of sky. If there was a rainbow in the area there, I had less chance of being able to see it.

As a result, when I see rainbows, I pay attention to them. Even though they're not rare here, they seem to be less common in the morning than in the afternoon. I put on a CD of Irish music to go with it, not because we saw any rainboaws there but because music from that misty climate seemed appropriate. (And after all, where do leprechauns keep their gold?) For a moment there was even a double arc. Eventually I went through some heavier traffic and had to concentrate, and when I came out the rainbow had faded. But the song that was playing then put me in mind of the Ring of Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher, which had me thinking of the ocean in general. I miss living by water, and the ocean is the best water, because it was waves as well as the relfections all water has, and maybe a little just because of its salt. After all, our most distant ancestors came from the sea, and we retain its echo flowing in our veins. (Never tell me there's no poetry in science.)

A small sliver of the other end of the rainbow peeked out at the end of my drive, then hid behind the buliding. As I walked in the door, I asked another woman walking in if she'd seen the rainbow. She said, "Oh, no. Was there a rainbow? I don't notice anything in the morning." I am not known as an observant person, but there are some things that really ought not to be missed.

Posted by dichroic at August 9, 2005 01:34 PM
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