Somewhere Over the Rainbow

It is a terrible comparison, rainbows to snakes, but they both are silent in their appearance; and no matter how many times you see one above or below, it startles you when suddenly there they are right in front of you.

And snakes have their own beauty, mind you (some may opine otherwise),  the silent glory of an unexpected rainbow spreads benevolently overhead even as said reptiles portend no good at all there, slithering in the grass suddenly underfoot.

Quite frankly, I’d have only been able to tell you about this one this morning, were it not for my wife-mate photographer’s assistant.

She was walking toward the garden from the barn, just as I looked up from my watering can to see behind her the view you see in this image (and larger, here at Flickr.) It had shimmered behind her as she walked along the pasture trail back toward the house. And she would have missed it entirely.

I pointed high behind and above her. She turned around–and gasped.

“And for once, I don’t have my phone in my pocket” I sighed, resigned to gaze briefly up and out,  to remember the vision and get back to my important task of garden tending.

I shrugged off her encouragement to run get it, thinking that, as usual, the sun would have shifted another degree and the vision would be nothing more than a memory by the time the shutter snapped.

She ran to the house–pretty fast for legs lately unaccustomed to speed–and brought back the iPhone in time for me to take this panorama as the colors faded. A few drops fell on this very dry ground, a promise of rain that did not deliver.

In that regard, we are snake-bit, I suppose.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. OMG! Thank you Ann! If you don’t get that photo printed and framed and displayed, I will think you need your head examined. I know, it’s just an iPhone image, but still. Spectacular!