I have always loved rainbows. When I was a teenager I had a rainbow poster, and when I went to college I sought out a huge rainbow that covered an entire wall of my room. Rainbows may seem to some an odd thing to love, but for me they’re unendingly cheerful: somehow full of life and joy and, well, colour. The dictionary states that a rainbow is ‘an arch of colours formed in the sky in certain circumstances, caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by rain’ or it can also be any display of the colours of the spectrum produced by dispersion of light. A simple and beautiful thing that I’m forever trying to capture on camera, and it would seem I’m not alone – a quick search on ‘Shutterstock’ brings back 178,561 results!
So, what is the fascination with this common phenomenon? Apparently we’ve been captivated with rainbows forever, and there are songs, poems and art to prove the fact. In Norse mythology the rainbow is the road between the worlds of God and men, Indians believed it was a bridge between life and death and the Irish…well we all know about that elusive pot of gold, and it wasn’t made up for the film!
Of course there’s the biblical reference to the rainbow being a covenant between God and humanity too, a promise that there will never again be a flood that destroys the whole earth (although some of us may have been doubting that last summer!)
Whatever the roots, there are a few aspects that continue to attract me – the nod at hope; the world hasn’t flooded yet, and it’s still exciting to my adult self to look up and see a rainbow in the sky after, or more often than not, during a rain shower; the Irish myth has appeal, hinting at the unattainable – you never can find the end of the rainbow of course. Finally, there’s just the sheer wonder and beauty of seeing that refraction of light; sometimes bright, sometimes pale, but always magnificent.
I love colour, and am known for my bright choices, and often rainbow shades, borrowing something of the hope, joy and colour from the wonder of the universe. I seem to have seen more than my fair share of rainbows since I moved to the Highlands. I’ve not found a pot of gold yet, nor have I managed to take the perfect rainbow photograph, but it still gives me a thrill to look up and see a rainbow arching across the sky in all its splendour. You could do worse than look up every so often – you might get a nice rainbow surprise!