Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bluebirds Fly

Nona Cree Smith, Gazette Contributor 

One of our favorite childhood movies takes us from the black and white world of Kansas to a technicolor land where the skies are blue, dreams come true, and “troubles melt like lemon drops.” That wonderful place, of course, awaits us somewhere over the rainbow. But long before Dorothy set off to see the Wizard, rainbows have captured vivid imaginations and been romanticized since the dawn of man.

The Incas believed that rainbows were a gift from the Sun god, ancient Arabians saw them as sky tapestries woven by the south wind, and both Navajo and Norse sages told stories of radiant, glowing acres of color bridging the gulf between heaven and earth. Many people see rainbows as God’s covenant to Noah not to flood the Earth again.

Across the ages and cultures, rainbows have represented good luck, prosperity, renewed hope, forgiveness and foretold of magical events. Who hasn’t wished to discover the fabled pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? While the treasure has yet to be found and verified, the fleeting beauty of rainbows continues to fascinate and inspire.

The ancient Greeks worshipped the Olympian gods of which Iris was personified by a rainbow. In Homer’s “Iliad,” Iris relayed messages from the ruling gods, Zeus and Hera, to other gods and to mortals. According to Greek poet Hesiod, she also carried water from the River Styx, which acted as an ancient truth serum. Whoever drank the water and lies, was severely punished. Her influence lives on in such words as “iridescence” and the beautiful Iris flower.

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