Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rainbows Unwoven?

Another rainbow yesterday -- and this time it was double. 
Such a spectacular natural phenomenon demands a good story -- whether the Irish tale of a pot of gold at the rainbow's end. . .
Or the biblical story of a sign from God that the Earth will not again perish from flood . . .




Many cultures saw the rainbow as a bridge between this world and another . . .

Or a goddess's necklace, a heavenly snake, the bow of a celestial hunter . . .



Does the scientific explanation of the rainbow as an optical phenomenon caused by the light of the sun on moisture in the Earth's atmosphere  destroy its beauty?

John Keats thought so and said as much in his poem Lamia.
Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine –
Unweave a rainbow

I don't think so.

I tend to agree with the poet Wordsworth who said:

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!…

 
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24 comments:

Martin H. said...

Another of nature's free and wonderful displays. I remember the first time my mother pointed out a rainbow to me. I nearly broke my neck as we walked away, I was so reluctant to take my eyes off it.

Reader Wil said...

Beautiful Vicki! I am with you in preferring the poem of Wordworth:"My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:..."

jinksy said...

To this day, I often stand stock still for minutes on end to admire a rainbow if I see one - and if I can avoid being a danger to anyone else while I do so, of course! I enjoyed your selection of poem snd pics...

Friko said...

rainbows are a miracle of nature and, as such, a beauty to behold. Knowing 'why' they are what they are, makes them no less awesome.

I like to 'understand' the science behind phenomena and marvel no less.

Pat in east TN said...

I always look for rainbows and look at them in awe when they appear. Some are so brilliant it's amazing and others you have to really look hard for because they're barely there, but regardless they're a beautiful thing.

tony said...

I love the Magic involved.They suddenly appear......then vanish equally.As I say,Pure Magic.Forget the Science!

Vicki Lane said...

We are fortunate in having an east-facing house with an unobstructed view. Afternoon showers in summertime often provide us with rainbows -- there was once one that touched down at our chicken house! Pointing, no doubt, to the golden egg yolks.

Mr. Stupid said...

Wow. It looks very beautiful. I love looking at rainbows. What makes it better is the sunlight that appears just after the showers.
Smiles...

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a gorgeous double rainbow Vicki. I totally agree with Martin - it's one of nature's free displays.
Sam

Paul C said...

This is a wonderful perspective on one of nature's most spectacular offerings. I can see how the Romantics would be a little miffed by a cool, calculated scientific explanation.

gayle said...

I was lucky enough to see and capture a picture of a double rainbow in Ireland!!
Love your pictures and post!
A gateway to heaven!!

NCmountainwoman said...

Beautiful photographs. Yes, I think everyone's heart leaps a little when gazing at a rainbow. Witness the number of people in the parking lot who will point up to strangers when a rainbow appears. And for a brief moment we share a common bond.

joanny said...

Rainbows have continued to capture our attention and thankfully have not lost their mystique their allure, their ability to dazzle us , please, give us joy just in the mere looking at them.-- Joanny

jennyfreckles said...

I love them - it's even better to capture the transience in your lens. Wish there was a pot of gold though!

Brian Miller said...

to me a rainbow always brings promise...smiles. great snap of the double...

Jon Lee said...

Beautiful pictures and two of my favorite poets. I tend to agree with Wordsworth too. Mark Twain also hit on these ideas in Life on the Mississippi. When he was talking about learning so much about the river while training to be a riverboat pilot, he said it took away the mystery and beauty of the river for him. He would never be able to look at the river in the same way again, much the same as a doctor always sees what's beneath a rosy cheek in a beautiful woman: disease. I suppose too much knowledge can take away the mystery of anything, but I think also that we can keep the romantic, the mystery, and the charm of all natural phenomena and nature within us if we want too.

Deanna said...

I agree with Wordsworth.

Rainbows are fairy tale to me. Yours are beautiful!

Vicki Lane said...

NC Mountainwoman -- such a good point about wanting to share extraordinary sights -- even with strangers! In a way, that's what many of my posts are.

And on reflection -- I like the mystery -- but the elegance of the science fascinates me too.

Tipper said...

Love the rainbows-and I too agree more with Wordsworth.

willow said...

I saw a rainbow a few months ago, for the first time in ages! I had forgotten how spectacular they are and how special it made me feel.

Victoria said...

Oh, I don't think anything could diminish the beauty and wonder of a rainbow for me.

Those are gorgeous rainbow photos, Vicki!

Stephanie D. said...

When I lived in Albuquerque, we drove up to Sandia Peak now and then, and whenever we had visitors. From the peak, you can see up to 75 miles in several directions. One morning, we were up there early, and not only did we see a rainbow, we saw the entire thing--it was circular! A raincircle. I don't know the scientific explanation for it, but I don't really need one.

Vicki Lane said...

Okay, Stephanie D., now you've done it. I am seriously jealous -- a circular rainbow!! WOW!!!

Miss_Yves said...

And have you found a treasure at the feet of this lovely rainbow ?