“…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 AM EST TUESDAY… * WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 14 to 18 inches. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Blizzard like conditions possible Monday and Monday evening.” ~Weather Underground
Looking at the weather forecast brought back a memory. Many years ago, I reviewed a pamphlet that recommended snow shoveling as a non-vigorous winter exercise. Clearly these writers had never been required to move a large amount of snow. Having shoveled my fair share, I explained to them that, in fact, nothing raises the heart rate faster than a cold wind and a shovel full of heavy wet snow. The writers removed their recommendation from their “Heart Healthy” pamphlet.
Now I’m facing a hard slog of snow shoveling. To cheer myself up, I took a morning walk. I noticed that neighbors’ are displaying their children’s artwork taped to their front doors. Among the cut out “snowflakes,” I see a multitude of colorful drawings of rainbows.
Rainbows, though seen as great arches in the sky, are actually circular phenomenon that we have only been able to photograph from airplanes or from very high places as in the video below shot from a rotating restaurant.
We see rainbows when the sun is behind us at a low altitude at the end of a rain storm. The white light of the sun reflects off the back of the raindrops and then refracts as it leaves the drop. Inside the drop, there is a second reflection which forms the second rainbow just above the first one. In fact, even though it is can be very faint, there is always a second rainbow with the colors of the original rainbow inverted.
This meteorological phenomenon has been interpreted in various ways by different cultures. For the Norse, the Bifrost rainbow, guarded by an all-seeing Heimdall, represented the bridge between the gods and man. The visible form of Iris, the Greek messenger goddess was a rainbow. In the Bible, rainbows symbolize God’s promise to Noah to never flood the world again. In the Navajo nation’s flag, the rainbow is protective acting as the pathway of holy spirits that heal and intervene for mankind with the creator. Rainbows restore harmony and balance.
Weathering the challenges ahead, the wait for the COVID-19 vaccine, “herd immunity,” and my upcoming snow shoveling, requires the promise, hope, harmony and balance that a child’s drawing of a rainbow represents. Let’s lift our cups of hot chocolate to resilience!