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I don’t understand how it comes into being, but I just love when, all of a sudden, I look across the horizon and there it is. Red and blue and yellow and green…and whatever other colors. I had a million chances to snap a pic, but then, I don’t think I had ever seen a camera. But the neat thing about rainbows is that, from time-to-time, they reoccur, gracing the skies with their heartwarming appearance.

Folklore has some tales about rainbows. The most popular one, and you’ve probably heard it, too, is that there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. Now, I know that is not true by any stretch of anybody’s imagination. Still, as a child, I wanted to find out. Being an inquisitive little girl, I also wanted to know where on the earth the rainbow started and where it ended. I imagined it stretching from the East Coast to somewhere in the Midwest. I didn’t think it went all the way to California, but perhaps it did, though I doubt it.

There is another widely-circulated tale about chasing a rainbow, perhaps to find the pot of gold, before that mass of colors disappears. I had better sense than to run across the field trying to reach those indescribably beautiful colors. In my mind I chased it, but in reality I knew it was too far away to get to before it evaporated into thin air. So my second best was to stare at that colorful, semi-circle way up in the sky until I could no longer see any trace of those dazzling, kaleidoscope colors.

Here’s what I always wondered about rainbows. After a storm, a shower, a drizzle, or even the slightest precipitation from the sky, those magical entities strode to center stage and decorated the heavens — aflame in the most vivid colors imaginable. No doubt scientists can explain everything you want to know about rainbows, plus some, but I can’t. As a Christian family, we believed God flung that mist into the sky, then took His paint brush and added the most vibrant colors He could find. He knew I like bright, bold colors, and he also knew I would love staring at his brief artwork beaming across that wide expanse.

Perhaps it’s just my imagination, but the rainbows of my childhood (and I saw plenty) seem far more dazzling than those that I see today. They even appeared closer, more real, and projected a more human-like persona, if that makes sense. Maybe because there weren’t skyscrapers and other building to get in their way, they seemed closer, felt more personal and much more a part of the landscape than rainbows today. 

Its sudden, mysterious appearance touched my heart so deeply. When it showed up, it almost always caught me off guard, but when I first caught a glimpse of it, I’d stop dead in my tracks and stare as long as it lingered in my corner of the sky. Then again, I may be too sentimental about the things in nature where I lived and grew up. Be that as it may. City rainbows are OK, even though I rarely see them. But I still prefer my country rainbows. I guess the memories make them more special than the city rainbows.

To me, a rainbow looks like a half-circle, curtain hanging of its own accord. In keeping with the thought of chasing rainbows, whenever I saw one, that’s exactly what I wanted to do — run across the field and glide my little bony fingers up and down that thick concentration of vibrantly living colors. Most of all, I wish I had some kind of magical power that would make that arch stay right where it was, so the next day when I looked up toward the sky, it would still be there, its colors glowing as boldly as they were the day before. My Rainbow!

Photo by Getty Images/melki76