Not The Target Market

Fire Rainbows

fire-rainbow-2For all I announce that I have evolved into an appreciative gardener, as opposed to an enthusiastic one, today found me acting as if I once more possessed enthusiasm.

We cleared up the patch of woods immediately behind the house. This involved a great deal of bending, raking, dragging, and dirt. It also involved fire. The Hunter is enthusiastic about fires. I am sure this one could be seen from the space station.

While our fire was certainly spectacular, the fire rainbow in the sky was even more so. Neither The Hunter nor I had ever seen one before and we had to research this-rainbow-that-wasn’t-quite-a-rainbow to find out what to call it.

These fire rainbows are very rare and only form when several sets of conditions line up: cirrus clouds in the sky; hexagon shaped ice crystals in the atmosphere; and the sun higher than 58° from the horizon. These conditions are only possible between 55°N and 55°S. Oh, and according to all articles, we aren’t supposed to call this phenomenon fire rainbows. They are “circumhorizontal arcs,” although why you would say something technical like circumhorizontal arc when you can say something romantic like “fire rainbow,” I don’t know.

I found the research all deadly dull – full of numbers and exact positions and physics and things. My mind doesn’t work that way. Hard, cold, dull facts and no stories leave my brain absolutely nothing to be enthusiastic about. It makes this spectacular and rare occurrence seem almost boring.

However, I have a solution for that. Simple meditate on the similarity between my fire rainbow and these angel wings, and you’ll have all the story you need.


Jan van Eyck, The Annunciation, c 1435, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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