"Where did it go?!" asked our enthusiastic three-year-old, Nicola, as we drove on the windy road, seeing a rainbow over here, then over there, with every curve and change in direction.
The sunshine did its best to break through the autumn rain clouds, giving us a five-minute drive lined with full frontal rainbows. I'm talking end-to-end vision, the whole arch. I'd never seen the definitive beginning or end of a rainbow before, and I felt a sense of awe witnessing a rainbow go from a garden bed to a tree trunk across the valley. Or was it the other way around?
I couldn't help but imagine a pot of gold at each base, or at the very least, a bowl of Lucky Charms. The arch moved its position as we did, a wild chase leaving sparks of joy in its path, no gold coins or sugar-coated marshmallows necessary. It felt like I was seeing a rainbow for the very first time.
Except, I see rainbows quite often. Not necessarily the arched kind that we point to in the sky, but flashes of the color spectrum that exists all around us when the light and our perspective align just so; the same light dispersing effects, or magic, that we experience with the arched rainbow.
I often think back to when our eldest, Hazel, noticed a rainbow while playing with Legos on the living room floor. The sunlight from the windows beamed in low and to her right, illuminating the world she was creating, piece by piece. Hazel shouted, "look, a rainbow!" pointing to where it was and continued saying, "look! Look!" as if I could see it from where I sat at that very moment. I could not, so I went over to see what she saw, and sure enough, a narrow stream of colors poured themselves onto the rug through a small clear plastic piece that she had just set in place. Rainbow spotting has become a favorite family pastime (or surprise-time if you don't plan on it?) but what she didn't understand as she shouted "look!" is that only she could see the rainbow from where she was; her own perspective. Her rainbow experience was not my immediate experience, but the rainbow was present nevertheless.
From that moment in the living room on, I've delighted more in seeing rainbows everywhere: from the light refracting in my glass of water to catching one in motion as I drive by a reflective street sign. Rainbows can be found wherever there is light. But beyond the visible, I relish thinking about the color spectrum that exists around us at all times. Regardless of the present tools or perspectives, the energy that's simply there inspires so much awe within. And in my book, that's as great of a feeling as witnessing something externally. Perhaps even better.
I think we stand in rainbows all of the time, but we don't always have the right tools or mindset to notice them.
And while I don't know the origins of the rainbow and pot of gold stories, something tells me that the real moral of the story is closer to this: change your perspective to one of awe, and you will be rewarded.
Here are a few ideas for experiencing more rainbows in our everyday...
With a crystal ball suncatcher like this one from Owls Road Studio
Or just draw/paint them as quickly as we feel them, just as Hazel did, and often does 💕