What is it that fascinates us about sunrises and rainbows? The sun rises every day, rainbows appear after many rainstorms around here. No big deal, right? Just natural phenomena with modern scientific explanations that the ancients did not grasp. Religions and superstitions have abounded for centuries around the rising of the sun and the appearance of a rainbow.
Simple science explains the rainbow as the bending of light through the many water droplets present in the air after a rainstorm. The droplets act like prisms, separating white light into its component wavelengths, causing the ROYGBIV spectrum to be visible. White light is around us all the time. It just has to be broken down to see it.
And the sun, of course, does not “rise.” We know that it is the Earth that is moving (a heretical idea not that long ago) around the sun, and revolving all the while, causing the illusion of the sun arcing across the sky.
Does the science make the phenomenon any less wondrous? Obviously not. We still stop and stare and point and snapchat and share with joy the appearance of a rainbow. Getting up early and watching the sunrise never grows old.
Perhaps it is the promise of something that makes us stop and stare. The sun came up again today: another day ahead to spend on this Earth enjoying the beauty of nature. A rainbow’s colorful sketch across the sky is the reward for withstanding the storm. Maybe things will be all right after all.
Hope. It’s what the sunrise and the rainbow represent.