Things you notice

Photo by Alex on

A few weeks ago, both my gentlemen associates and I were in the truck. I sit in the back seat in the truck because Husband is a terrible passenger, and Child’s legs are twice as long as mine. Plus, when the doggie is with us, he sits in the back, and I like his company. Anyway, Huge stormy clouds billowed in the sky, dark and heavy with rain. We’d come through some stretches of Ontario Summer Monsoon, but it wasn’t raining at the moment. In the distance, the clouds were starting to break up and there was a rainbow massive and wide across the horizon.

My husband: Look, there’s a rainbow

Child: Yeah, it was double for a while.

I was bemused by this. Husband is a pretty no-nonsense kind of guy. He wouldn’t know why one would tell the bees one’s secrets. He doesn’t search for 4-leaf clover in the yard, or adhere to the tradition of Love Nuts (other than to eat the half-kernel I give him), or believe that blue beach glass is good luck. He doesn’t believe that elementals may or may not have lived in the giant century old maple tree (pre storm damage). Despite his distant Scottish heritage and his diligent effort to learn to play the bagpipes, he’s not subject to (nor aware of) the whims of the Brownies. Despite his more recent (but still not that recent) Canadian Maritime heritage, he doesn’t know the selkies or any other of the Atlantic Fey. Whimsy doesn’t come easy to Husband, the way it does for Child and I. But for some reason, rainbows remain a source of charm worth mentioning (by husband) and watching (by Child).

It’s kind of adorable, really.

Of all the ways that life can find to kick you in the shins or the balls or the teeth, rainbows continue to be worth mentioning. Sometimes, someone will take a fun picture where the rainbow looks like it’s ending in a bucket that they’re holding. Some people are also like that with sunsets or the moon or meteor showers. They’ll even post pictures to Instagram for others to enjoy as well. People also continue to take pictures of the glass pyramid at The Louvre so that it looks like their finger is on top of the point. And pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa that make it look like they’re pushing it back up. And pictures of the Epcot sphere that make it look like they’re pressing it above their heads. So it’s not like people don’t like a bit of unexpected clever fun.

I, for one, am a terrible photographer, so I don’t try as much as I used to. I choose the thousand words now instead of the snap. I take pictures sparingly, and only keep the ones I like (Yay, digital camera on my phone!)

Auntie V has been going through the giant box of photographs that she has amassed over the ages. My Uncle Jack and Uncle Beano were huge photograph-takers, and they would always develop and get doubles and share. She had literally thousands. So she started filtering and creating piles to give to different nieces and nephews and cousins. It was a kick looking through those – but you know, they’re not all great pictures. Some are for sure. Some are fantastic. But others are just… meh. I’ve got a task for a wintery evening later this year to go through them and get rid of the ones that I don’t love.  It used to feel like a betrayal to me if/when I threw away snaps, but age and a burgeoning container full of 5 of the same wallet sized pictures left from school photos, or Christmas pictures arrived in the mail… I think it’s time to let go of some of that.

I used to be able to drive myself to the beach (or wherever) – by myself – and sit with a notebook and just write. I’d capture a scene and make a fictional character study about someone I saw. I’d write a vignette with my notes. It kept my writing skills sharp, since you can’t break out the descriptive writing in your Technical Writing (unless you want to see if someone is actually doing their reviews… then you toss in a random “To use the updated Rubrics navigation, ride your battle ostrich around your backyard until the More option appears beside the Rubric criteria”

But I digress.

When I was in a creative writing class half a lifetime ago, we had to choose a picture from a folder and write (creatively!) about it. I’m taking that theory of taking a picture and creating a scenario around it, so some of those snaps, pruned out of the pile Auntie V gave me will go into a folder as fodder for some descriptive writing drills. When I told her about this, she gave me a few more pictures that she had, but she didn’t know the people in them – A few wedding photos where no one looks happy except one bridesmaid. A woman in a rose garden. A child, super-duper unimpressed with a very creepy looking Easter bunny. Those are the seeds that can be planted into a good descriptive scene. It’s not journalism – it doesn’t have to be what *really* happened. It’s just a bit of a lark, finding inspiration in unexpected places. And I do like the whimsy afforded by wrapping words around a moment in time.

Which takes us back to the rainbow, as we all sat in the car that day. There are things that we notice and they hold our attention for a few minutes until the scene folds in on itself and the moment is gone. Sometimes, those are captured in imagination, sometimes on film… erm… on camera. My two gentlemen associates where not inspired to write about their rainbow-y experiences that day – nor would they be any other day. But my son took a few moments from the podcast he was listening to, and my husband noticed it above the traffic ahead of him. And that inspired me.

Mischief managed, Rainbow.

Extra Credit:

The Adorable Custom of ‘Telling The Bees’

3 thoughts on “Things you notice

  1. I really enjoyed this post! Somewhere I have a picture of a fogbow, also known as a white rainbow, that I took in southwestern Alaska. One of my projects for today is to find it and maybe share it. I was also eagerly diving in to my extra credit assignment (I remember hearing something about telling the bees) but I got an error message when I clicked the link. Is it just my computer?
    Thanks, and carry on.


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