Arc of our covenant

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© Evening Standard

In the UK, crayoned pictures have been fixed to windows reminding passers-by of how the NHS contributes to the health of the nation. We clap in recognizing heroic efforts of those on the front-line at 8pm each Thursday.

Last week, in the fifteen or so minutes preceding this weekly applause, there floated over London a double rainbow. The second, outer arc appearing a good five minutes after the first.

That confluence of coincidence cheered the heart … well, it cheered my heart while getting increasingly soggier … in virtue of an implicitly genial kindness: a gorgeous kind of empathy by Nature.

If the NHS – by which I mean the people who bring it into being each day and each night – has saved your life, you’ll know that it doesn’t have time to dwell on your renewed wellness because it is already acting on the next patient.

The clapping is really the only time we can transform our passive role into one of positive action. It is a kind of covenant we have to acknowledge that which is given and gracefully received.

The clue being in the title, a rainbow occurs when light penetrates through rain and is reflected, refracted & dispersed, appearing as a spectrum in the form of a septa-coloured, circular arc. Nuff said.