QUICKLY! Get that pot of gold boys… Geilston Bay, January 2011.
Rainbows: optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines on to droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere; or something infinitely more sinister?
In Greek mythology, the rainbow was considered to be a path made by a messenger (Iris) between Earth and Heaven. In Chinese mythology, the rainbow was a slit in the sky sealed by goddess Nüwa using stones of five different colours.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh: the rainbow is the "jewelled necklace of the Great Mother Ishtar" that she lifts into the sky as a promise that she "will never forget these days of the great flood" that destroyed her children. In Norse Mythology, a rainbow called the Bifröst Bridge connects the realms of Ásgard and Midgard, the homes of the gods and humans.
In Hindu mythology, the rainbow is called Indradhanush, meaning "the bow of Indra, the god of lightning, thunder and rain". Likewise, in mythology of the Arabian Peninsula calls the rainbow “Qaus Quzaħ”, the war bow of the god Quzaħ.
According to Christianity and Judaism, after Noah's flood the rainbow gained meaning as the sign of God's promise that terrestrial life would never again be destroyed by flood. Tell that to the good folk of Queensland!
Then you have the evil little leprechaun and his forever-unattainable pot of gold!
Here’s what Wordsworth had to say on the matter…
My Heart Leaps Up, by William Wordsworth
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!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
The view from the back fence. Geilston Bay, January 2010.