Thursday, July 5, 2007

Nature's Work

The reappearance of the sun is always a welcome sight following a summer afternoon rain. It brightens up and highlights the details of the freshly washed landscape. Simple things such as the leaves of plants, the petals of flowers and pebbles along a stream become almost jewel like in appearance. And, if we're fortunate, a rainbow in the eastern sky will supply the visual "icing for the cake."
With the appearance of a rainbow, nature almost seems to be "showboating" a bit. Displaying its capacity for creativity. Bright colors in nature are no stranger to us. We frequently see brilliant sunrises and sunsets. Also the brightly colored leaves in autumn. And the water of a deep lake or the Pacific Ocean can be an unbelievably bright blue. But in no place other than the rainbow do we expect to see the full spectrum - all the hues-bright and pure, adjoining and complementing each other, and with no conflicting contrast. And the uniformly arched lines of a rainbow are extremely rare in nature.
Such brilliance and uniqueness must have caused some concern to people down through the ages. Must have inspired much wonder and thought, and even fear, before they finally realized that a rainbow was just a natural occurrence that followed a rain.
For many, seeing the great colorful arch in the heavens was, and still is, a religious experience. In the Book of Genesis, God said to Noah and his sons, "I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. As the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and recall the everlasting covenant that I have established between God and all mortal creatures that are on earth." And from the Book of Sirach: " Behold the rainbow! Then bless its Maker for majestic indeed is its splendor. It spans the heavens with its glory, this bow bent by the might hand of God." In various parts of Europe the rainbow is frequently referred to as" the arch of Saint Martin," "the bridge of the Holy Spirit," and "the crown of Saint Bernard."
I have no idea where the " pot of gold at the end of the rainbow" story originated, but I do know that it has been around for a long time. It must have taken quite an imagination to come up with that one. I've seen plenty of people ( including myself) going off on "wild goose chases," but have never known of anyone actually picking up a shovel and heading off to find the "rainbow's end."

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