Independence Day

It’s Independence Day weekend in the U.S., and I thought I’d share a couple of photos I took yesterday in the “real” Rural America.

I spend a lot of time writing about dumb people doing dumb things. One thing I think is dumb is forgetting what Independence Day is all about (hint: it’s not about a day off, or BBQs, or fireworks!)

This photo was taken last evening in Ridgway, Colorado. The bridge spans the Uncompahgre River, which you can sort-of see in the shadows:

Rainbow ends at the American Flag.

That’s a view to the east of where I was. The shot to the south — toward Ouray — is interesting too, if not quite as spectacular, and shows the other end of this rainbow. The rainbow was so bright against a dark foreground, the camera was a bit overwhelmed by it all:

Rainbow in the valley.

Be safe this weekend. That’s easier if you’re thoughtful. And remember how many fought and died for our freedoms before you casually give them away.

23 Comments on “Independence Day

  1. Thank you so much for these beautiful pictures. And many thanks to those who have served our country in many capacities to ensure the freedoms we enjoy every day.

  2. We caught a bit of a rainbow here in Colorado Springs yesterday evening… Just a bit of one dangling from the clouds. Still very pretty. Thanks for sharing those gorgeous pics (and now I want to explore your part of the state!)

    And a HUGE “thanks” for calling it what it is: Independence Day. Every country has a 4th of July; only we Americans can call it “Independence Day”. To call it anything else does a disservice to those who envisioned it, implemented it, and put their lives on the line to make it happen and preserve it.

    To anybody who reads this: If somebody calls it the “4th of July”, would you take a moment to stop and correct them? It’s far more than just a day to drink a beer and light off a firework (and please: leave that to the professionals) — it’s THE day to celebrate our Independence and remember what it took to make it possible. It’s not just another day on the calendar.

    I personally would love it if I never hear “Happy 4th” ever again because everybody called it “Independence Day”.

  3. So far, on this birthday of the U. S. A., I’ve encountered these examples of profound numptiness:

    1. A poll reveals that 26% of Americans think we declared independence from France, Spain, Mexico, Japan, or China… or (I pray) that 26% of Americans love to yank pollsters’ cranks when asked insultingly simple questions. 🙂

    2. Ran into people at a July 4 arts festival who are circulating a petition that would deny bail to “violent offenders.” The one I talked to didn’t seem to understand the qualifications for signing a petition.

    “Are you registered to vote?”
    “No, lad, I gave up voting after Obama. He proves I’m just no good at it.”
    “Well, sign this petition….”
    “How do you identify violent offenders?” I asked.
    “There’s usually witnesses, and police reports…”
    “You’ve heard of the ‘presumption of innocence,’ haven’t you?”
    “Yes, but…”
    “Well then STOP DOING THIS, you idiot!”

    And July 4 is not about “remembering those who died so that we can be free.” That’s Memorial Day, and it’s mostly a delusion. No U. S. soldier has died for freedom since the Revolutionary War. Everything since then has been for greed.

    July 4 is a day of patriotism – the demonstration of one’s delusion that your patch of dirt is better than mine simply because you happened to be born on it.

    The USA is the greatest country on Earth, which is the greatest planet in the solar system, which beats all other solar systems in the Milky Way, which puts those other dinky galaxies to shame.

    Oh, and my home town team can beat the tar out of yours, and those people who squat on the other side of our street shouldn’t be mixing their mutt children in our school.

    “The fundamental delusion of humanity is that I am here and you are out there,” wrote Zen master Shunryu Suzuki.

    Only when we stop dividing ourselves finer than flour will brave young people stop dying for no good reason. That is how to honor their misguided yet still noble sacrifices.

    I consider World War II a war for freedom. -rc

  4. I particularly loved the tagline:

    And remember how many fought and died for our freedoms before you casually give them away.

  5. It’s interesting how the rainbow in the first picture comes down in front of the hill instead of on the horizon like I’m used to seeing them. Very nice Randy.

    And yes, thank you for the reminder of why we have a holiday, to celebrate our independence and our fragile freedoms.

  6. Excellent photo of the double rainbow. It is usually quite difficult to capture a secondary rainbow on film. Maybe it works better with a digital camera.

    Was there a tertiary rainbow? They are generally so faint that cameras can’t get them, whereas, the eye can.

    The primary was very bright, so the secondary was quite easy to see — clearer than in the photo. But I didn’t detect any glimmer of a third. -rc

  7. The secondary rainbow is only a little less than half of the total brightness of the primary, but it is spread out over a larger circumference and bands about twice as wide, so it appears much fainter. It is 51 degrees from the anti-solar point — the point (below the horizon) opposite the sun and the center of both the primary and the secondary. The lower in the sky the sun is, the higher the rainbows are. The primary is 41 degrees from the anti-solar point. The tertiary rainbow is on the other side with the center on the sun, so it is almost impossible to see in competition with the direct path rays. Its radius is about the same as the primary, but it is much fainter.

  8. Cool shot! Now if you could have just caught the planes coming from the Ouray parade in the same shot!….Getting back to Ouray soon for my daughter’s wedding next month, it will be good to be back home.

  9. Randy, very nice. Thanks for sharing. Here is a “Uncle Sam” rainbow photo taken on the 4th in Commerce City where I was performing.

  10. I once saw a tertiary bow. The primary was so strong, that the secondary was as bright as primaries usually are. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera in the car at the time, and this was long before cell-phone cameras.

  11. Comment: “July 4 is a day of patriotism – the demonstration of one’s delusion that your patch of dirt is better than mine simply because you happened to be born on it.”

    Sorry, can’t agree with that statement. It may contain an element of truth, but at most it’s a pithy attempt at trendy cynicism. Research into ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, formerly INS), as well as the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Center for Immigration Studies will show the following information:

    Over one million immigrants each year work and study to achieve citizenship status through naturalization. And each year, roughly one million immigrants establish legal permanent living status in the U.S. Since 1965, the U.S. has adopted the most liberal immigration laws in the world, and accepts more legal immigrants than all other countries combined. Add to that the numbers of illegal (or undocumented, if you prefer) aliens, and it’s not just Americans who believe that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, but millions of others who endure hardships to get here. The reason most often given is “to have a chance at a better life,” also known as The American Dream.

    Apparently patriotism has less to do with the patch of dirt upon which one was conceived.
    As an aside, there has never been a war in human history that hasn’t had its share of profiteers to exercise their greed. Add to that the tremendous mishandling of so many wars, the underlying goal is often blurred. But wars are still initiated by ideology, some becoming perverted in the process. Nevertheless, international wars are incredibly complicated and do not lend themselves to simple, single-word descriptions of a human emotion.

    Thank you, Randy, for those really incredible photos. For all its problems, the USA is truly a great place to be. Yes, many people DID die for the freedoms that have become enshrined in our Constitution. Not only the Revolutionary War, but the War of 1812 to retain that freedom, and the Civil War to extend it to slaves, leading to the 14th Amendment which has affirmed the Bill of Rights to citizens of all states.

  12. Beautiful beautiful beautiful – and it didn’t scare my dog like the July 4 fireworks do (she has to be medicated for a couple days before and a day after, to keep her from shaking so bad she can’t perform bodily functions…).

  13. That first one needs to be put on a book or inspirational poster or something! The second is gorgeous too, but WOW! I’d pay for prints of that.

    I do of course have the original, which is in much higher resolution and suitable to make prints…. -rc

  14. I wish I had a camera when I saw that double rainbow off the coast of Cape Hatteras around Christmas 1969. I was on my first ship, working as a Galleyman on a 700 foot long tanker, running between the refineries in Houston and New Jersey. We were northbound, and it was in the middle of the afternoon, so I was on a break and had gone up on deck to see the sights. We had sailed through a squall earlier that day, and were coming up on a patch of partly cloudy skies, with short choppy seas. At first, a faint rainbow appeared ahead of us, then it got brighter as we got “closer.” Then a second one appeared and got brighter, as the first one faded out. By the time our bow seemed to be directly under it, the second rainbow started fading. I was looking abeam, port and starboard, but never did see that pot of gold!

    I saw a photo online a while back, of a tanker sailing into a hurricane. I don’t know the source or the location, but it looks a lot like what I saw that day. Of course, we only had a squall, no high winds, but substitute a double rainbow for the storm clouds, and you’ll get a taste of what I saw.

    I posted it on Facebook.

  15. “I was looking abeam, port and starboard, but never did see that pot of gold!”

    Of course not, you were sailing the “pot of gold” itself!

  16. The BEST picture I saw with a rainbow ending at a outhouse. It wasn’t a pot of gold BUT it was a pot!

  17. Absolutely gorgeous, Randy.

    Anyone who has issues with celebrating your country and your love of it need to go take a long walk off a short cliff. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of what’s awesome about where you call home — and there’s plenty to celebrate about the United States. We definitely have our problems but that’s true no matter where you go (and so is the flipside, that other countries have awesomeness worth celebrating). Now if only we could move the date of celebrating America to the actual birthdate of the United States. *sighs* The myths and inaccurate information surrounding the 4th never ceases to make my butt twitch, but America is hardly alone in the promulgation of a national mythology. It’s human nature to elaborate and embellish and pull stuff out of your butt in order to look/sound awesome (just look at fishermen. ;D).

  18. Isn’t our world awesome?!? I do enjoy living in america. I don’t like some of the attitudes of our citizens, but I do believe we all have our failings. Thanks for the rainbows.

  19. That is a most fabulous shot!

    My family and I were in Denver over the weekend and spent the actual 4th in Berthoud with a local team of Morris Dancers. Were it not for the rain, we would have had a fantastic view of all the fireworks. I just wish I was looking in the appropriate direction to see nature’s contribution that you caught (Although, the mountains themselves and all the elk and big horn sheep we saw more than made up for it).

    We live in a beautiful country, with amazing variations in climate, culture, topology, and more. After spending the last 3 weeks taking different routes between Denver and Boston, I realize how fortunate we are as Americans.

  20. Gorgeous shot!

    Color me jealous. We had a double rainbow here a few months ago that I wanted to get a shot of, but by the time I could safely stop and get the camera out it was gone.

  21. Absolutely beautiful!! I’m glad you were in the right place at the right time, with a camera, and are thoughtful enough to share.

    I almost always have a pocket camera with me. It has come in really handy at times! -rc

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