I probably wouldn't have noticed it if I had looked straight at it. Or if my six-year-old son hadn't told me these things exist. Kids see things the rest of us don't. He'd talked about seeing rainbows on the ground a couple times. Not in oil slicks, but in our front pasture. I glanced over my shoulder while driving, saw the scattered weeds of an overgrown field, and gave him one of those dismissive, "oh yeah" comments that we parents get so good at.
But then on my weekly long commute, I actually saw one.
If it were a painting, I would call it contrived. And it would be.
It wasn't the kind of day-glo rainbow that comes shooting out of a unicorn's ass as it flies over a mystical ocean. No, this was almost invisible. The backdrop bleeding through, the mostly scattered hues were more implication than color. Without peripheral vision, and the motion blur of highway driving, the effect would probably be lost. I imagine few, if any, of the other thousands of drivers and passengers barreling down the interstate even noticed it.
But there it was: A band of pale blueish-purple chicory flowers, in their favorite spot, basking at the edge of the road. Ragged green grass behind, giving way to the taller grasses that grew beyond the purview of the mowing crews. The taller grass was starting to set seed and dry to a tawny gold. Still taller weeds just beyond that - millet maybe? - showing rusty brown seedheads in the back row. And covering the wire fencing that separates the highway from the farm fields, a smattering of red trumpet vine flowers.
An off-duty rainbow, hidden in plain sight. Roy G. Biv, basking in the sun, watching the world go by. And I almost missed it.