true colors


I went to a conference last week in Portland, and while there is plenty to say about that trip, for now I will just share this moment from the start of my trip.

I flew out last Sunday evening, and I arrived at the airport a good 2 hours before my 7 p.m. flight. Boston Logan is, as major city airports go, a fairly moderate and manageable size. Airport security typically goes pretty fast (at least compared to some airports (Denver, I’m looking at you)), and I expected to have a good chunk of time before boarding. For whatever reason, though, things went really slowly in security that evening. I watched my cushion of extra time dwindle away such that it looked like I’d be getting to my gate only a few minutes before boarding. Having finally passed through security and reassembled myself and my luggage, I wasted no time heading to the gate, which naturally was as far from security as possible in that terminal wing.

With my gate just in view, I looked out the window. It had been raining earlier, and the clouds had parted a bit to provide a spectacular sunset.

What’s more, there was a rainbow.

Rainbows are big in our household. Phoebe and Theo both love color, and rainbows are a frequent subject of artwork. For that matter, rainbows are a frequent subject of conversation.

I confess that this love of rainbows in my children has been encouraged by me. I loved rainbows as a kid. I mean I *loved* rainbows as a kid. I had what might be considered a “rainbow phase.” And for someone who mostly wears gray and black, I still love color. I love that my children love color.

So imagine my excitement at seeing a rainbow. At an airport. (Because I also love airports.) My inner child was giddy.

My flight was scheduled to board in about 5 minutes, but I didn’t hesitate to stop to walk over to the window. I had my iPhone handy, and snapped a few shots. But they absolutely didn’t do it justice. I parked myself at some conveniently open seats at the gate closest to me (a gate which happily didn’t have a flight scheduled imminently). I unloaded my backpack, and dug out my camera with my telephoto lens.

What I found sort of hard to understand was that the vast majority of the people waiting around in the airport seemed to be completely indifferent to the stunning view. I say “vast majority” because I did overhear one guy on his phone nearby saying something about the rainbow and pretty sunset, but that may well have been in reaction to seeing me whip out my camera. (I think I made him look.) Nobody else appeared to be looking. I wanted to just stand at the window and stare.

But I also wanted to share, especially with my rainbow-loving children. I headed over to my gate, and found a seat. They hadn’t started the boarding process yet, so I figured I had time. I got out my laptop, and loaded the photos from my camera onto it. I sent an email to John with a photo, and posted it to Facebook as well. I may well have posted it here on my blog as well, but my row was called for boarding, so I had to pack up my laptop in a hurry.

I realized that if I hadn’t gotten stuck in security, I would likely have missed the rainbow. (I’d likely have settled down at my gate and buried my head in my electronics until called to board.) I wouldn’t have heard a peep about the rainbow from anyone around me.

Are most adults really so blasé about rainbows?


A photo taken with my iPhone. You can find the rainbow only if you know where to look. (It’s near the white rectangular structure near the horizon, about a third of the way from the left.)


Taken with the telephoto.


Rainbow and plane.


The scenery was beautiful even without the rainbow. This scene is to the left of the rainbow. The views of the sunset from the windows near my gate were also striking, but the crowds were too thick for me to get close enough to take pictures.


One last zoom of the windmills and big tanks just beyond the runways.


These were the photos I was considering for the friday foto finder theme of “right.” To see a rainbow, conditions have to be just right. You have to be at the right place at the right time, with the weather conditions and the lighting just right such that the water droplets are in the right direction from the sun.

16 responses to “true colors

  1. Oooh! What a great story. I’m glad you didn’t miss your flight, and glad you didn’t miss the rainbow/sunset combination!

  2. “Are most adults really so blasé about rainbows?”

    I can only speak for the two adults in this house & we are all about rainbows. Phoning each other when we see one. Running outside to photograph them. Checking all the windows to make sure that we see it from all directions. We like them… and would very much like to find the pot of gold at the end of one!

    • I love that you guys phone each other when you see a rainbow, Ally Bean! I honestly so rarely see rainbows here that I don’t know what my typical rainbow behavior is. I do know that I always look for them when there is that prime rain/sun combination, but perhaps the wooded area where I live tends to make the proper angle with respect to the sun trickier to achieve.

  3. i’m with you, alejna – and i whip out my iphone whenever i see a rainbow.

  4. Hi Alejna —

    A few weeks ago, I was walking towards the HK Film Archive when I noticed that there were a couple of beautiful rainbows in the sky. I stopped and fished out my camera. By the time I was done taking my photos, I discovered that there were about 10-15 other people around me with their cameras out too! :)

    So I was — and you are — not alone in appreciating rainbows… at least in Hong Kong! :b

  5. By the way, was that the Portland in Oregon or the one in Maine?

  6. I love rainbows…and sunsets! I try to take notice (and snap a pic) when I see one. We shouldn’t take beauty for granted!

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