Tag Archives: rainbows

Omens and Rainbows

I’ve never been one for omens. It bothers me when I see people online talking about encounters with bits of nature and what it might mean when it sounds like a creature was just doing its thing. I worry about how human-centric and ego-centric it can be to assume that the rest of the world exists to bring us messages. Maybe we’re not that special.

As an animist, I think everything has the potential for opinions, preferences and ideas. I can’t reconcile that with thinking that anything is interrupting its own life to try and tell me stuff about mine. The ravens have better things to do than bring me omens, I have no doubt. However, if a raven turns up, it may well be connected to all kinds of other things going on.

We’re all part of the same weave. If you’ve encountered any of my Wherefore fiction (on youtube and in my ko-fi store) then you’ll know I’m quite into the idea of the weave. Everything is connected, everything affects everything else. And so there may be signs and omens because what one being is doing exists in relation to everything else. I might see the butterfly flap its wings and have a decent stab at guessing where the hurricane will be. Although in fairness, I probably won’t!

Rainbows have always been a bit of an exception on this score. Partly because they aren’t creatures going about their own business in quite the same way. They have causes, and reasons, but how they show up varies so much. Light conditions, times of day, density of rain – there’s a lot of variables go in to making a specific rainbow, and that feels to me like a place where you might take a reading or infer some significance. I’ve had some moments with double bows, an incredibly vibrant hailbow, and rainbows that have seemed reassuring at times when I had a lot to worry about and very little reassurance. They always seem like a good omen.

A rainbow is a moment of unexpected beauty. Whether it really is a sign of anything else, it is certainly a reminder that wonder can come out of nowhere, that beauty is powerful, that life is full of unexpected things and not all of them are shit.


Against a dark background

On Friday I saw a memorably dramatic rainbow – the consequence of especially strong light against a really black storm cloud. The vivid colours owed everything to that combination. This is often the case. The combination of sunlight and cloud shadow at play across the hills creates the most dramatic views. It’s the clouds that make the sunsets rich and memorable too. Take out the darkness, and light on its own often doesn’t make a lot of sense.

This is one of the themes at play in Personal Demons, and Hopeless Maine generally. The light shows up better against a dark background. This is a literal truth with regards to the art – the glows, moons and magical lights are so much more vivid when there’s contrast. (www.hopelessmaine.com if you have no idea what I’m talking about). It’s true from a writing point of view as well. It’s difficult showing off courage, heroism or integrity to good effect if the setting is in pastel shades and mostly fluffy. The deeper the darkness, the more brightly lights shine in contrast to it.

Fiction is not the same as real life though. I am currently tempted to get that tattooed onto my forehead, because the inability of people who ought to know better to get their heads round this one is driving me crazy. Again. Fiction has narrative shapes and a coherence that life frequently lacks. On second thoughts, can I please be allowed to tattoo the words ’fiction is not the same as real life’ onto the forehead of the next person who hits me with this rubbish? Gah. Moving on…

In fiction seeing those contrasts between light and dark is rewarding. It emphasises story and character. Mostly in real life, experiencing the contrasts is an absolute bitch and I for one would be happy to give it a miss more days than not. Yes, the compassion of some shines out a lot brighter for the background of everything else. Yes, the wisdom of some shines forth in just the same way. Yes, I have a growing perspective on the difference, and no, I did not really want any of the dark half of the experiences that have shaped my opinion. I’d have been quite happy going through able to trust and think well of most people. It’s that old innocence/experience quandary again. I miss the state of innocence when I believed that the world was a better sort of place.

What I want is the world I used to believe existed, where trust was not the province of the naïve, greed was not good, and trying to do the right things for the right reasons counted for something. A world in which truth is respected, and people respect themselves enough to want to be truthful. A world in which money is not the be all and end all, and power is used to help, not to abuse.

And on that day, Satan will very likely be skating to work.
I keep coming back to the same issue, that I have choice, and I am not utterly powerless. That whole ‘be the difference’ mantra often seems to be an exercise in seeing how many different ways I can get myself kicked. But if I give up, I have given up and accepted that I can do nothing. I’m still not willing to do that, even though I am bone weary of the metaphorical bloody noses and rounds of getting crushed. I am so tired today, and so short of inspiration, and I feel like the cold has got right into my bones, and into my soul and the darkness of winter before me seems long and harsh too. But I’m not giving up. I’m not going to do anything of any great use today, I suspect, but just holding the idea, the possibility of getting up again and having another go is better than admitting defeat.

There are often more storm clouds than there are moments of beautiful light and glorious rainbows, but there are moments of glorious light and beautiful rainbows, and that is going to have to be enough.