The Suitcase Lady


August 24, 2011, 12:02 am

I waited a long time to see my first rainbow. When it appeared, it did not disappoint, even though I had imagined that the colors would be as bright as my Crayolas.

Who does not take delight in a rainbow? A humongous arc of ROYGBIV in the sky compels attention and admiration. Ancient peoples created countless rainbow mythologies.

I once taught a delightful little three year old named Iris. “I’m a rainbow,” she told me one day as she sat painting. Indeed she was, named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow who dressed in rainbow colors and had golden wings.

In Norse mythology, Bifrost is the rainbow bridge that connected the earth with Asgard, home of the Norse gods. Only the gods and warriors killed in battle could use the bridge. The Navajo have a male deity named the Rainbow God. He is instantly recognized as his body is curved in the shape of the rainbow’s arc. The Australian aboriginals believe that the Rainbow Serpent is the creator of the world and all its creatures, while the Estonian myths feature a rainbow snake who sucks up water and spits rain.

In more modern times, rainbows were the symbol of the Age of Aquarius. The iconic rainbow was everywhere, on hippie vans, billboards, posters, clothes and even dishes.

Two artists of that era were prolific rainbow painters. Peter Max not only used a brilliant rainbow palette when creating his cosmic art, he also often sprinkled rainbows both large and tiny throughout his paintings.

Thom Klicka took rainbows a step farther. Known as “The Rainbow Man”, he painted only rainbows. His most famous work was a large poster which consisted of hundreds of tiny and unique one inch square rainbow paintings. The purchaser was to cut up the poster and give away the tiny pocket rainbows. I gave away my entire poster; however, I still have a cherished copy of Rainbows by Thom Klicka, The Rainbow Man. (If you feel a need to go back to a gentler era, the book is still available on Amazon.)

Poets and writers make liberal use of rainbow imagery as well. I’ll let this quote from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff be the final words.

“Those who think the rewarding things in life are somewhere beyond the rainbow burn their toast a lot.”

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