Chasing Rainbows

It’s a very ordinary, grey, wet day out there now. Your typical English winter, cold, soggy and a bit visually bland. There’s nothing to show for what happened this morning. On the walk to school, with the sun low in the sky, the light was brilliant and intense against the dark clouds. Much of the sky was a deep blue at dawn, with russets along the cloud edges and intense light bringing a rare depth of colour to every surface. Fields, and stone all illuminated.

Then the rain came, painting a whole and perfect rainbow across the sky. I could see where it came down into trees, and it really looked as if it touched the ground there. Part of me wanted to go and see, despite knowing that we wouldn’t find anything. When I was a child, I used to go out with my grandmother, searching for the end of the rainbow and the pot of gold reputedly waiting there. All the land was golden this morning.

On the playground, children spotted the rainbow, pointed, gaped and marvelled. It wasn’t your regular, hazy suggestion of a rainbow either. This was rich colour, streaked across the sky. It was the kind of rainbow children draw.

Walking home, the golden light felt too intense to be real. We were no longer in winter, but it didn’t feel like any other season either. As though for a few moments the realm of faerie had layered itself over our familiar landscape. As though we walked somewhere mythic. I felt lighter than I have in a long time, safe and enchanted, magically protected and overwhelmingly well and good. These are not things I spend most of my time feeling. There was a beautiful irrationality to it all.

Now we have a very ordinary sort of rain shower, slow, persistent and free from drama. Proper English weather. It’s a mournful day, the kind of colours that breed apathy and weariness. But I am still carrying the rainbow and the light inside me. The colours haven’t entirely dimmed yet. For a little while this morning, something happened that was mystical beyond any hope of description, and I was blessed enough to be there.

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