|Photo by Nikki Dobrowolski|
Rainbows always catch our attention. They're rare enough to not bore, but common enough not to frighten. They're color on a grey day—all the colors of the, forgive me, rainbow in fact—after a storm, and have enough cultural baggage to make us feel good, as heralds of happiness, with an echo of tales of leprechauns and their hidden pots of gold.
All good, but also a shame, because we usually stop there, and seldom reflect, oh, how both Rene Descartes and Isaac Newtown studied rainbows, the former in his 1637 treatise...
Aw, the hell with it. Let us not pull rainbows down from heaven and pick over them with our microscopes. As much as I'm inclined to do just that, roll out the science, today ... well, not in the mood. Today, let's err on the side of romance.
So let's cut across the field, veering from technology to poetry, and take the advice of John Keats, who complains specifically about people who would study rainbows, in his poem "Lamia"—Lamia being a child of Poseidon, a child-devouring sea monster. He uses "philosophy" in its older sense, encompassing science, and "awful" in its meaning, not of a bad thing, but "inspiring awe."
Thank you regular reader (and photo contributor) Nikki Dobrowolski, for sending the photo, taken in her back yard. That's some backyard.