Of puddles and rainbows

wonder-socrates

In her beautiful picture book Once Upon a Picture Sally Swain asks readers to wonder about famous artworks by Renoir, Klee, Van Gogh, and Rousseau.

once-upon-a-picture

I am very much in favour of wonder, and have written about it before in

Is it any wonder? about reclaiming your right to wonder;

Breathe – a sense of wonder! about watching nature close-up with live butterfly kits in the classroom;

Wondering in the everyday reminds us to pause and observe our surroundings; and

Noticing and Wondering: Kicking off and supporting enquiry shares a post in which Aaron Eden on Edunautics, Exploring a World of Learning questions whether there could be any skills more important than noticing and wondering.

questioning-einstein

This week Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch got me wondering about rainbow puddles with her flash fiction prompt to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a rainbow in a puddle. Is it a silver lining of sorts or a false reflection? Think about what it might mean or convey. Simple science? Hope? Or the doom of humankind? Create action or character reflection.

I wasn’t sure if rainbows would be seen in puddles that weren’t coated with oil, but it did make me wonder.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir The Umbrellas ca. 1881-86

Pierre-Auguste Renoir The Umbrellas ca. 1881-86

Sally Swain invites readers to wonder about the girl with the hoop in Renoir’s painting “The Umbrellas”. Swain asks, “What does she want to do? Play?” and illustrates her thoughts with pictures of the girl playing in the muddy puddles that are inevitable on a rainy day. There is not a hint of rainbow though.

Rainbows are common in works for children.

rainbow-fish

There is the beautiful series of Rainbow Fish books by Marcus Pfister with a simple message about the joy of sharing, of making oneself happy by making others happy too.

There are songs such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow” sung by Judy Garland in her role as Dorothy in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz, and Sing a Rainbow.

Rainbows are also popular for helping children learn maths facts and colours.

Of course, there is the science of rainbows too; but before the science comes the wonder: looking at rainbows in the sky, and wondering.

rainbow-wonder

When I was a kid we loved playing with the hose or in the sprinkler. Depending on the angle of the water and the sun, we could make our own rainbows, we didn’t need to wait for rain.

sprinkler-926779_1920

This got me thinking of children who might go for years without seeing rain, or therefore a rainbow, and how exciting their first sighting might be. I have combined a few of these ideas in my flash. I hope you enjoy it.

Of puddles and rainbows

For children of the drought who had never seen rain, the gush when the pipe from the bore burst a seam was a rare opportunity for water play and unexpected learning. While Dad and his Station Hand worked to repair the hole, the children danced in puddles under the cooling spray.

“Look at the colours,” a child exclaimed, trying to capture each one. The men paused to smile at the children’s delight, remembering their own childhood glee. Mum watched from the verandah – without their precious resource, there’d be no washing off mud or cooking the dinner that night.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

 

34 thoughts on “Of puddles and rainbows

  1. Bec Colvin

    I love your FF here. It’s very evocative, and I think you have captured with real empathy the different views on the one scene! I like Mum’s acceptance of what the burst water means. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and perspectives.

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  3. julespaige

    Scientifically no two people see the same rainbow in the same light – different angle of height and all that. Like no two snowflakes are supposed to be the same.

    While I haven’t been years in a drought situation I have been in drought areas where there was no watering of lawns. And it was encouraged to use the wash water from the washing machine or sink to water gardens and even use that dirty water to wash one’s car.

    Some areas in the US have drought while others do not. Weather is and odd thing on this little ball called earth. I’ve been lucky to see a couple of complete double rainbows too…

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/atmospheric/double-rainbows-rare.htm

    And if you notice the double rainbow…the colors are opposite – in the photo in the link the insides are red/orange and then go out to yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Your description of grey water usage is very familiar to me here in Australia. Droughts and floods seem to follow each other in rapid succession.
      I have seen some double rainbows, but never noticed the opposite colours. Thanks for the link and pointing that out.

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  5. Charli Mills

    You are the champion of wonder, Norah! I hadn’t thought about how rare a rainbow would be to drought-prone places. And I do recall rainbows in sprinklers. How delightful the burst watermain is to your characters, so much so that the adults enjoy the moment, too although not losing sight of the work it means.

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    1. Norah Post author

      I love that – champion of wonder! Now that’s a superpower. Maybe we need a new badge. I often write about keeping children’s sense of wonder alive, but I’m really grateful to children for reawakening mine. I guess knowing what life’s like without it, helps me appreciate it even more. I’m pleased the flash achieved what I intended. Thanks for your lovely comment. Enjoy the weekend. 🙂

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      1. Charli Mills

        That’s definitely one of your super powers, Norah! The lack of something essential as wonder is tragic, yet the lack leads to the appreciation. I think writers need that sense of wonder, too. Keep sharing it!

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  6. Patricia Tilton

    Swain’s book is so beautiful! I love how children are asked to focus on something in a photo and asked how they would use an item. I want Swain’s book. Enjoyed your entire post. Water is taken for granted here, and we easily forget it is precious for those who have so little.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Patricia. Swain’s book is delightful, and I like the way it encourages us to wonder, to go beyond the visuals. It is easy to forget how precious our water is. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. thecontentedcrafter

    It’s almost the profound and the profane that you touch upon with this little story Norah – a real art! Such a shame that we stop living in wonder to live in reality 🙂 I love the book that makes us all look at a piece of art with new eyes!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your wonderful comment, Pauline. I always appreciate your unique perspective. It is a shame – I think there’s too much reality at the moment. 🙂
      We could wonder about your wonderful artworks too. Which makes me wonder … I hope your store is going well.
      The weekend is nigh. Enjoy!

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  8. Annecdotist

    I love the idea of introducing children to renowned works of art through curiosity about children in the picture. Your flash is a lovely reminder of our dependence on water and the delight in rainbows – and I’ve got Dorothy in my flash this week too!

    Liked by 2 people

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  9. ellenbest24

    Once again Norah… A delight to read. I remember the children in India crying because they could capture rain in a tub and drink it as they said… fresh from god. Rainbows slashed the skies as torrents fell for two minutes. The combination of the drink with the colours captured my attention. The glee and appreciation captured my heart.

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for sharing, Ellen. I love that story of the children in India with their water “fresh from god”. What a lot of water to fall in a short time.
      I appreciate your lovely comment about my flash. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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