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Rainbow on the Colorado Plains: Photo Essay of a Gorgeous Evening Storm

Updated on September 3, 2017
ButterflyWings profile image

Butterfly grew up fourth generation on a farm on the Colorado Plains, where sky and dreams were both huge.

A single raindrop caught in the action, shining like a meteor.
A single raindrop caught in the action, shining like a meteor.
A congregation of hens.
A congregation of hens.

A Window of Opportunity

I still spend quite a bit of time on the farm I grew up on, on the Eastern Plains of Colorado.

Last Friday, after a full day working, I was witness to one of the most beautiful storms I've seen yet. In this part of the country, we are prone to fantastical, enormous, breath-taking storms, but this one was pure ecstacy. It's colors were ever changing.

I tinkered about with my camera for a while beforehand, experimenting with the clouds and the sunset. The children were still out playing on their tricycles and peddle tractors, and the chickens had not gone to roost yet. They tip-toed about the yard, cocking their heads at the puddles from last night's rain, and looking like so many ladies lifting their petticoats above the muck.

At last it was time to wrangle the children for bed. After hustling them indoors and getting them down for the night, I looked out an eastern-facing window, and saw this:

The Rainbow in its Glory

I've been trying for years to capture a rainbow. I finally did it!  That's a working windmill in the foreground, with its holding tank for water.
I've been trying for years to capture a rainbow. I finally did it! That's a working windmill in the foreground, with its holding tank for water.

I hustled back out in the sheeting rain to see if I could catch and keep a piece of this storm.

In three minutes, the colors had vanished and dusk was complete. Our storms rarely last long; they rise up fiercely, then fall back suddenly, tuckered out. This first squall lasted but fifteen minutes. I could still hear the storm breathing, like a cat in tall grass, and lightning played all across the east for several more hours. White and pink, yellow and blue, it flashed in sheets and claws and tongues, like a dragon partially hidden by the clouds.

Rain came periodically throughout the night, and the wind continued to scratch at the house corners and sigh at the windows. The yard next morning was a glory of puddles, and the chickens again tip-toed about, looking for insects in the mud.

Next time, perhaps I'll catch a tornado to share, or a good rousing hail.

Those can be beautiful, too.

Before the Storm

The chicken houses, with the storm crouching behind them to the north.
The chicken houses, with the storm crouching behind them to the north.
The sky to the west is lullaby-sweet, with a tinge of rain you can taste.
The sky to the west is lullaby-sweet, with a tinge of rain you can taste.
Clouds above the eaves of the house. The air is perfectly still.
Clouds above the eaves of the house. The air is perfectly still.
To the north, past the cellar.
To the north, past the cellar.

After the Storm

Behind the cellar, to the north. See the fragments of blue and purple?
Behind the cellar, to the north. See the fragments of blue and purple?
The sky in the west went from yellow...
The sky in the west went from yellow...
...to orange...
...to orange...
...to pure fire.
...to pure fire.
These colors showed up within moments of the first rainbow picture, at the top.
These colors showed up within moments of the first rainbow picture, at the top.
Mid-dusk, and the sweet colors have drained away.
Mid-dusk, and the sweet colors have drained away.
Good night, all. The south might be letting some stars through, by and by.
Good night, all. The south might be letting some stars through, by and by.

Good Lightning

© 2009 ButterflyWings

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    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      8 years ago

      Me too.

      So where's the link to your hub with the rainbow? It belongs here.

    • profile image

      Justine76 

      8 years ago

      he he. :) i have a pic on a hub, with a rainbow....captioned....after the storm. I get it, is all. I am really glad you found me.

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      8 years ago

      Journey*, thanks for dropping in. I don't think we've met before. I'll be coming by one of these days soon to see you.

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      8 years ago

      Justine, your visit made my morning. I love sharing what inspires me, and storms certainly do. It's snowing right now, so it's a great day to write, and take care of the house.

      I like that you called me "sis". I accept that. :)

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      8 years ago from USA

      ButterflyWings,

      This is a really nice hub with great pics. Thanks for sharing.

      - Journey *

    • profile image

      Justine76 

      8 years ago

      awwww....MAN!!!! hey...this was awesome, I can almost smell the rain. And...sorry Im so slow. Nice to meet you 'sis'. ;)

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      8 years ago

      Rose, I'm glad you liked it. I enjoy storms so much. I have a hub in the works showing pictures of a tornado building, from last summer (what with all the work that comes with summer, I never got around to putting it up).

    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      A beautifully written hub! I love how you showed all the stages of sky colors. Gorgeous!

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      9 years ago

      Ivorwen, I don't so much remember the sand lilies, but the columbines were magical.

      Now we have all sorts of bushy pink morning glory plants - a sign that the pasture is not in such great condition, but the bushes are beautiful.

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      9 years ago

      Ralwus, thanks for taking time to stop by. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. I always wonder how good they really are, after taking what I thought were some pretty good pictures, and having my brother-in-law (a professional photographer) say they were nothing special. Maybe I've gotten better since then (fingers crossed). Anyway, I found your comment uplifting.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 

      9 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Do I ever remember the spiderwort and orange mallow! They were always so lovely. Do you remember the sand lilies, and the columbines that would magically appear after a rain storm? It was as if they grew and flowered in a 2-3 hour period.

    • profile image

      ralwus 

      9 years ago

      Great hub and wonderful photography too. Thanks, I enjoyed this.

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      9 years ago

      Fen Lander, I'm charmed that you've stopped by. The farm could use a lot of improvements, and even more TLC on the buildings and so on, but I've decided to show it just the way it is. The 360*, plains view makes up for a lot of shortcomings, because there is so much of the ever-changing sky.

      The place has been part of a lot of things and a lot of lives since it was homesteaded four generations ago. I'll be showing more of it, and telling some stories related to it, by and by.

    • fen lander profile image

      fen lander 

      9 years ago from Whitstable

      you write really nicely. n' take really good pics too. it's always a real pleasure to have a native's eye view of the land they love. thank you.

    • ButterflyWings profile imageAUTHOR

      ButterflyWings 

      9 years ago

      Boy do I ever. I meant last week to get pictures of the Buffalo Wallow, after this rain, but ran out of time. When I get them, I'm sure they'll wind up in a hub.

      Do you remember the blue spiderwort flowers, and the orange mallow growing thick in the sod out in the second pasture? They were back thicker than ever this year.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 

      9 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Wish I could have been there, Sis. Remember all the walks through the pasture in the rain?

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