Thursday, June 6, 2013

Exponential Joy: A Double Rainbow

Last week sudden thunderheads released the rain with the force of a fire hose. It splashed off of our shed's metal roof, bouncing high and then gushed off the edges. The house gutters clogged up and the overflow created a continuous band of waterfall the length of the porch. 

The storm moved east rapidly, trailing softer rain with the sun blazing in the west. Anticipating the rainbow we headed outside.  As we watched a second arc formed outside the first. 

The inner bow colors intensified and the bands widened like watercolors spreading on a damp page.

I haven't seen many double rainbows. The only other one I remember was on the high plains in Colorado, with no trees in sight, so it seemed like it filled the entire sky. Neither time did I notice that the order of the colors are reversed in the second rainbow.  As soon as I read about that phenomenon online I examined my photos for confirmation.  (link to secondary rainbow.)


I don't quite understand rainbows enchant us. Even though we know what conditions will cause a rainbow, we find them surprising. And two rainbows magnify the pleasure exponentially.* 

Maybe it's the sense that our lives still hold potential to astonish us, that our daily paths can branch off to the unexpected and unknown. 

Rainbows revive a sense of wonder, create a catch in our breath, affect an appreciative pause in the midst of routine. No wonder Dorothy sang about them.

I hope you have reason to marvel today, rain or shine.

*(I don't really understand all of the math, I just know that it means something gets big faster. If you really want to know, follow the link.)

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