Monday, May 29, 2006

The World is Full of Rainbows

I saw a rainbow this morning, one of those real bright ones, sharp and crisp, arching from one horizon to the other. As I was walking down to the bus stop, I distinguished seven colors – but I didn’t have time to think of the name of each color. By the time I got to the bus stop, the colors had faded and I could distinguish but six – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet – and while I was thinking about it, I wondered: what was the seventh color?

A rainbow has seven colors – everybody knows that – it’s common knowledge! Yeah, right! There is a tribal culture somewhere, and they say a rainbow has three colors, or maybe two – I forget which. What’s the matter with them? Are they color blind?

Whatever the truth is, the truth is that when a thing gets to be “common knowledge”, most people stop looking and only see what they have learned they are supposed to see.

You do not know the reality of a thing unless you’ve seen the reality yourself. I know there is a Milky Way, because I’m nearly 65 years old and saw it many times when I was a kid. But if I was younger, I probably wouldn’t. the last time I saw it, it was but a pale wraith of what I saw as a child. It’s a fact, one of the most amazing wonders, the Milky Way, is hidden from us by a combination of dirty air and city lights.

The world is full of rainbows
But you will never know, you will never see them
Not until the day that you begin
To wipe and wash away each thin
Layer of dust that covers your eyes

-- special thanks to William Blake for the vision

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