July 5, 2012

Yesterday as the train pulled back into Manchester, there was a  huge rainbow arching across the city. It sat there with us for many minutes, as the train tarried it flickered at it’s edges.  Many weary after work travellers didn’t seem to notice and I felt too silly to declare it.  Later I mentioned it in conversation to no response, much to my annoyance.

‘It is a strange thing how little people know about the sky. We never attend to it, we never make it a subject of thought, we look upon it only as a succession of meaningless and monotonous accidents, too common and too vain to be worthy of a moment of watchfulness or a glance of admiration. If in our moments of utter idleness and insipidity, we turn to the sky as s a last resource, which of it’s phenomena do we speak of? One says it has been wet, and another , it has been windy, and another, it has been warm. Who, among the whole chattering crowd, can tell me of the forms and the precipices of the chain of tall white mountains that girded the horizon at noon today? Who saw the narrow sunbeam that came out of the south and smote upon their summits until they melted and mouldered away in a dust of blue rain? Who saw the dance of the dead clouds when the sunlight left them last might, and the west wind blew them before it like withered leaves?’

Ruskin, quoted in Alain de Bottons The Art of Travel.