Here’s a little quiz for you…
Guess which of my posts has become the most popular over the past month or two?
My most popular post here has become the one on “The Legend of the Rainbow,” which I first posted back in early June. Nearly six months later, it still hasn’t lost any of its magic…over the past thirty days it has accumulated nearly 2400 hits, receiving over six hundred in one day. That’s nearly five times the number of my second most popular post, which has received only a paltry 483 hits in comparison.
Everyone loves rainbows. Heck, even young gingham-clad country girls from Kansas and little green frogs sitting in the middle of the swamp love them. There is something about rainbows that just seems to bring out the best in us, and put a smile on our face.
Rainbows mean different things to different people.
From a scientific perspective, a rainbow “is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth’s atmosphere.”
But to many of us, rainbows mean more than a mere dispersion of sunlight through raindrops.
First of all, there’s that big multi-striped arc with all those beautiful colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. It’s hard not to marvel at such an elaborate display of nature’s beauty.
In the book of Genesis in the Bible, the rainbow was sent by God at the end of the Great Flood, as a symbol of his promise never to destroy the world in such a way again.
The Rainbow Bridge refers to that special place where our beloved pets go when they die, to run and play while they wait to be joined by their owners.
The multi-colored rainbow motif has long been used by gay and lesbian people around the world as an expression of their sexuality.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Nelson Mandela used the term “Rainbow Nation” to describe the country of South Africa after apartheid rule officially ended, and the Revered Jesse Jackson founded the Rainbow Coalition as a political organization reaching out to disenchanted voters from a broad spectrum of society.
And who can forget about the pot of gold found at the end of the rainbow?
Yes, indeed…rainbows have played a significant role in our society, and in our language. They have come to represent that diversity, that sense of unity, that desire for peace, that sense of hope.
Interestingly, two songs about rainbows have been nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards – “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz in 1939 (for which it won the Oscar), and “The Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie in 1979 (which didn’t win, but was a big hit nevertheless).
Who can forget a 16-year-old Judy Garland leaning against the haystack as she sings wistfully of finding a place where “troubles melt like lemon drops?” Indeed, the song represents that desire to escape from the hopeless chaos of the world…
Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly,
Birds fly over the rainbow,
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow,
Why oh why can’t I?
Forty year later, that same dreamy wistfulness was expressed by a short, green, amphibian version of Judy in the form of Kermit the Frog, at the beginning of The Muppet Movie. Much like Dorothy, Kermit sings of that urge for something more out of life…
Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it
I know they’re wrong, wait and see.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
All things considered, it should hardly be surprising that “The Legend of the Rainbow” would be one of my most popular posts. I think many of us are attracted not only to the beauty of rainbows, but to their symbology ~
A world of lovers and dreamers…a place where dreams really do come true…a sign of hope for tomorrow.