TIAA #18: “A Rainbow to Remind You”

Tosin’s Images & Anecdotes (TIAA) is my self-assigned photography challenge of 2022. The immediate objective is to select one image from my inventory (a cityscape, landscape, portrait, oddity, etc.) each week and write something about it. This “something” could be the story behind the photo, a triggered memory in relation to the photo, or simply a reaction or reflection based on the subject matter featured. The long-term objective is to encourage myself to add more content to “La Vue Atypique”, which celebrates its first decade in publication this year.

"Interbay Rainbow" / Seattle, Washington, USA / May 12, 2022
“Interbay Rainbow” (#1) / Seattle, Washington, USA / May 12, 2022

What can I say about the photograph above?

Each week, I try to contemplate which image will be the next one to share for this TIAA project. Once I’ve made up my mind, there are occasions when an unexpected photographic opportunity overrides what will become the featured photo. This week was the latest occasion.

Yesterday, while I was busy typing an email to a coworker, my thoughts were interrupted by a sudden downpour on the rooftop of my home. It had to have been very loud because the sound of the heavy rainfall managed to muffle the melodies emanating from my speakers. It was so sudden.

However, that wasn’t really the odd part. When I turned my head to the left to look out the window, my eyes widened considerably because all I could see was blue sky. Perched on the rooftop of the adjacent building were a few seagulls looking back at me. They weren’t fazed.

From years of experience, the occurrence wasn’t altogether unusual or uncommon, but this was probably the first time my senses were so acutely aware that the information my brain received via sound contrasted completely with what it received via sight. I needed more information and decided to journey from my bedroom to my balcony, and this week’s image is what I saw (and the explanation of my inquiring mind).

Seattle is absolutely no stranger to quick, intermittent rainstorms that interrupt a sunny day for five to 10 minutes before dissipating or relocating within the vast sky. However, it’s the phenomenon of seeing the rainstorm interact with a sky dominated by sunlight that produces such a fascinating result — what we all know as rainbows. There is no shortage of them. I probably have more than a hundred instances within my inventory of photography over the last 15 years featuring prominent rainbows after the open-air altercation between sun and rain.

In this case, this rainbow — or pair of rainbows, rather — spanned the partial length of the Interbay neighborhood of Seattle, a narrow strip of land that separates the residential neighborhoods (and massive hills) of Magnolia and Queen Anne. These prisms were unique, however, because I don’t recall any of them being so low to the ground. This was the first time in which the rainbows appeared to be very close to eye-level from where I stood on my balcony.

"Interbay Rainbow" / Seattle, Washington, USA / May 12, 2022
“Interbay Rainbow” (#2) / Seattle, Washington, USA / May 12, 2022

The rainbows disappeared less than 10 minutes after the storm had passed, but not without me capturing a few shots. I tend to view the cameos of rainbows as something joyful and optimistic, so I welcome them whenever I see them. Rainbows are also eternally enigmatic to me because of how ephemeral they are. They never stay long enough to tire of their presence.

There is so much happening in the world right now that I could only use this opportunity like I do with many others — take stock of what and who I have in my life and be grateful. This time, before the rainbow dematerialized, I took a moment of quiet acceptance that not everything has to make sense or be logical (as much as I would prefer everything to be) and that there are as many different realities as there are people on this planet. While that’s a daunting concept to accept, it does allow me to embrace the additional concept of how there’s so much going on of which I have very little to no control. That’s always been a challenge, but a lot less so as of late.

Rainbows, I suppose, are small intermissions in the chaos we all navigate in our respective lives.

Rainbows are temporary reminders that there is good and beauty within the chaos.

19 articles down for the TIAA challenge. 33 remain!

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