Prisms fill my window and kitchen with color and light

An unexpected Christmas gift years ago from my dear cousin became the start of a small collection I’ve added to over the years. When I received this first gift I had no idea the joy it would give. A simple glass prism, it was at one time, I believe, part of a crystal chandelier.

I wasn’t sure what to do with it until I visited a friend’s home and saw her windows strung with hundreds, perhaps thousands of glass prisms. How did she hang them? Dental floss. Ah, so simple, and yet not something I’d have thought of. Soon my gift hung in my kitchen window, catching each morning’s light, casting rainbows all about my small kitchen.


Rainbows reach as far as the stairs

Over time I found other glass prisms and added them to my window. In a shop on a visit to Vermont, I purchased several blown glass teardrop prisms. People gave them to me as gifts. When my mother died I found a box filled with multiple prisms, much like my original prism, clearly part of a deconstructed chandelier. I claimed several from my mother’s store of prisms to add to my own.

When a dear friend moved away I shared a prism from my window with her, a token of our friendship. Other prisms soon filled the empty space of that shared prism.

When my husband did some work in our kitchen we needed to take these fragile glass pieces down, both for safekeeping, and because he was altering the walls of the kitchen. I carefully packed them all in a box, lined with packing material to protect them from breakage.

Recently my daughter gave me a small prism “for your collection,” but it needed hanging. When my friend Sue visited, I suggested she help me return the prisms to the light. Sue loves projects like this, and is comfortable using tools of all kinds. We located a drill and measuring tape, and before long Sue had seven cup hooks installed, ready for prisms.

The challenge was, I had many more than seven prisms to choose from. I sorted through, found the original piece that began my collection, put it with the newest piece from my daughter, then chose five more to fill the window. Sue looked at the numerous pieces still in the box and suggested, “I’m visiting my dear friend soon. Could I have two identical ones, one for her, and one for me, so we can each share the same rainbows?” Of course.


A tiny rainbow darts about my kitchen floor

And so my kitchen is once again filled with rainbows. In summer I’ll have to rise early to catch the light, but in winter the rainbows take their time scattering across the kitchen. As I stand at the sink preparing food, clearing up from a meal, or simply looking out at the birds at my feeder, I can also take in the rainbows, cast hither and yon by these irregularly shaped pieces of glass. What began as a simple gift has taken on a life of its own, and has created gifts far beyond what I could ever have imagined.

We may think  we control what we give to others, but we have no control over what happens to that gift once it leaves our hands. Not only is this as it should be, it is part of the magic of a giving. May you be blessed with gifts that reach far beyond yourself, whether you know what happens to those gifts, or not.


Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


Filed under Blog Posts-Personal Histories

2 responses to “Rainbows

  1. Mary Chitty

    nice, who was the original prism from? i have a few small ones at home. love mg

    Mary Chitty MSLS Library Director & Taxonomist cell 617 861 7410 work 781 972 5416 Cambridge Healthtech, Needham MA http://www.genomicglossaries.com http://www.healthtech.com

    On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 1:47 PM, Marjorie Turner Hollman wrote:

    > marjorie561 posted: ” An unexpected Christmas gift years ago from my dear > cousin became the start of a small collection I’ve added to over the years. > When I received this first gift I had no idea the joy it would give. A > simple glass prism, it was at one time, I believe, par” >

    • marjorie561

      Em gave me the first prism, I got others from cleaning out mom’s house, and various other folks have given them to me over the years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.