Posted by: Ian | December 25, 2012

My Festive 500 #2 – The Truth in Rainbows

Being Christmas Day, my ride today was shorter – just 19 miles around Chard – but with some nice ascents. The sky was blue but there was a fine drizzle and heading North back into Chard from the Axminster direction I had a rainbow ahead of me.


Maybe the best truth in a rainbow is the pure science of it: the diffractive physics that determines that its shape is an arc of a circle is mysterious enough. And it’s useful to know that to see a rainbow it’s required that you have the sun behind you and rain ahead. Biblical types can take that as metaphorical support for the rainbow as a covenant from God that He’ll always be with us, which is perhaps an appropriate allusion for Christmas Day.

It’s often said that you can never reach the end of a rainbow. Taken this way it’s a metaphor for desire: there’s a pot of gold there but whenever you try to chase it it moves further away from you.

Surprisingly, I’ve never seen anyone make the more interesting observation that you can reach the end of the rainbow. The key is that you have to be at the end of the rainbow as seen by someone else. While you can’t, in isolation, fulfil your own desire, you can fulfil the desire of another, and seeing them see you at the end of their rainbow, you can maybe find your pot of gold through complicity. Taken this way it’s a metaphor for love.

Here’s my ride today as mapped on Strava:

F500, Day 2


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