I taught a writing class back when I lived in the city and I started with the question of “universal beauty.” I asked my class is there was anything that everyone would agree was universally beautiful. There was much discussion, much theorizing, and finally the class decided upon rainbows. They couldn’t think of anyone across cultures, class or history who would think a rainbow was not simply beautiful. And at the time, in the city, they all agreed that rainbows were so rare that everyone had to stop to stare and share the beauty of them together. At the time I thought it was a nice conclusion to the lesson.
And now, living in the wide open country where we regularly watch the storms roll in and then roll out, and the sun shines on the storm while the rain pours down on us mid-day, we rejoice in rainbows all summer. Almost daily. The afternoon rains showers our gardens so briefly, and then a rainbow often follows. Sometimes even a double rainbow.
I think my students were right back then–that rainbows, even if they are a regular occurrence, are a representation of universal beauty. And one that people never tire of gazing on–maybe that’s the definition of universal beauty.