Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rainbows and Other Ordinary Miracles

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

            This wasn't my actual double rainbow, but I decided to put the picture in just for effect.

This morning when I woke up my mom told me I should come into her room. I have a nice big window facing the east, but my parents' bedroom spans three sides of the house, so they have windows facing three direction.  Wondering what could possibly be so exciting that would cause me to want to take so many extra steps so early in the morning, I made my way to her room anyway. There, from the view of her west window, from which the ocean can be seen if it's not too cloudy, which it often is in the morning but happened not to be today, and if the neighbors haven't allowed their trees to go for too long without being pruned, which also happened to be the case, is a slight sliver of a view of the Pacific. I looked toward the Pacific and saw not just a rainbow but a  most majestic double rainbow. It was a thing of such beauty and glory that it almost caused me to believe another Jong Il or Jong Un or Kim Jong (or whatever their official family title is) may have been born.

It caused me to think of the song from The Muppets' Movie, "The Rainbow Connection," that asks the question as to why so many songs have been written about rainbows. How many songs have been written about rainbows, anyway? One website said Kermit the Frog grossly exaggerated when he asked the seemingly rhetorical question as to why there are so many songs about rainbows, with the website maintaining that songs about rainbows number a grand total of forty-two. (I question the authors' research/and or numeracy skills. First grade standards in nearly all U.S. states now mandate counting with one-to-one correspondence to a much higher level than forty-two.) Lyricsfreak.com lists eighty-six songs with the word rainbow in the title, and in scanning the titles, I noticed numerous omissions.  Lyricsfreak.com's list included only those with the word rainbow appearing in the titles. By the time hymns, folk songs, and children's songs are added to the mix, and the word rainbow may appear anywhere  in the song, the number would have to be in the hundreds.  This still doesn't answer the question of why.

Ben Michaels, PhD, is a fan of the Muppets and sings Kermit the Frog's song to his children regularly.  He cautions those who wish not not know the answer to the second part of Kermit's question -- "what's on the other side?" --  not to click on a particular link [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow} but Kermit himself already offered a basic answer to the question in part. "Rainbows are visions, " as in we can see them,  "but only illusions," even though we can see them, we cannot touch them; they;re not really there. I personally don't need to know more than that, which is, admittedly, a scary outlook for a potential research physician. My lack of curiosity alone is appalling.

I am very loosely tied to the LDS faith. One of the teachings of the faith, which is, in fact, borne on the crests of all the campuses of Brigham Young University, is this: The glory of God is intelligence.  If every religion possesses a single truth that is owned by no other, this would be, in my opinion, the truth held by the Mormons. Almost everything, if not absolutely everything, probably has a logical explanation to anyone sufficiently all-knowing to learn of and to comprehend  it.   To my way of thinking, though, this doesn't mean each of us has to learn of and comprehend the scientific basis of everything that seems to us simply to be a miracle. If truth were to be told, I probably possessed the underlying cognitive proficiency to deduce that many of the presents under the tree each Christmas morning were likely procured by my parents, but it was something I neither needed nor wanted to understand.  In some regards I still feel that way about Christmas and Santa, and perhaps I always will.

It is possible to accept that an element  can be visual yet not quite tangible, yet still somehow be real. One can appreciate its beauty and the sheer miraculosity  (yes, this is a bona fide word according to some but not all sources; I like it so I'm using it)  of its appearance and of its existence.   In my world, ordinary miracles exist every day. The most salient of those miracles I noticed this particular day, which was by now technically yesterday,  was the double rainbow I viewed from my parents' bedroom window. I celebrate its presence and my fortuosity at having witnessed it.  I suppose I could attempt to attach some sort  of religious significance to this, but for now, I choose simply to appreciate its sheer grandeur and leave it at that.



  1. Why are there so many posts about rainbows? I've always wanted to ask why your blog seems to have double posts and for this one, it looks like there are several posts about the same thing.

    I love "The Rainbow Connection". I actually really like Willie Nelson's version of that song... There's something very poignant about it. But I also love The Muppet Movie and remember seeing it in the theater when I was seven years old. It's a classic and none of the sequels lived up to it. I loved The Muppet Show, too!

    As for Mormonism, I've always thought that statement, "The Glory of God Is Intelligence", is the height of irony. As BS stories go, I think Joseph Smith's is right up there. South Park really got it right with their "dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb" chorus.

    I caught some great rainbow shots in Scotland!

  2. Rainbow posts are visions, but only illusions. They're not really there. Seriously, i have no clue, and when that happens, i delete them as soon as I notice it.