If it weren’t for all the rain…

When my wife and I visited Scotland more years ago than readers of this blog are invited to think about, we got great enjoyment from a weather reporter reminding us, in her bonnie Scots burr: “Remember–if it weren’t for all the rain, there wouldn’t be so many rainbows.” As tourists, we were still able to enjoy the spring showers, pedaling up Arthur’s Seat on rented bikes, gazing out over the Firth of Forth, wishing we had the budget to rent a car and really get a feel for the countryside. The rain didn’t dampen our spirits at all, even though it did curtail our activities a little bit.

And I got a reminder of that time this morning, driving in to work. The morning drizzle had the freeway backed up, but at least the cars were moving. The sun was out, playing peekaboo through the clouds, the rain was coming down through that delicious sideways illumination you can only get early in the morning or right before sunset, when the rays from the sun shine horizontally through the cloud deck. And even though I was a bit late for work, once I did arrive, I got to see a sight that always brings a smile to my face: a rainbow!

Seems I only ever get a chance to snap rainbow shots with my cellphone camera, through some seriously reflective glass! This shot is taken from the plane as I’m about to return from Boston last year:


For more on rainbows, see my earlier post. For those of you who are technically minded, you might enjoy this page with a Java applet demonstrating the physics of rainbows, or this one that provides a narrative account of those physics.