On a bitterly cold day in January, she wraps up and goes out for a ramble with her camera and notebook. She is feeling a little restless and in search of something, but she has no idea what that something is or rather, what it will turn out to be. She thinks she will recognize it when she sees it.
There is snow everywhere, and not much color to be seen in the landscape, but she pauses in a quiet scrap of field where an intermittent stream flows in season. There is no water flowing now, but in one place the north wind has brushed away the snow blanketing the little river, and the frozen surface is revealed in all its fractal perfection.
The sun slips below the horizon and everything flashes, burnished ice capturing the end-of-day light and reflecting it back again, holding it up like an offering, like a mirror in which the sky can see itself. There are oceans, islands and cloud archipelagos just drifting along up there, and down here too. The chiaroscuro scene is one of effortless, untrammeled reciprocity—no reservations, no limitations, no holding back.
The words reflect and reflection emerge from the distant Middle English reflecten and Latin reflectere, both meaning "to bend". When we use either word in mundane conversation these days, we think of light and mirrors and occasionally deep thought processes, everything and anything at all except bending. There were no deep thoughts at the edge of the little stream this week, but whatever notions she entertained there were probably closer to the original meaning of reflection than than they were to anything else she could think of offhand.
Watching the slow flush and shimmer of sunset moving across the ice, she felt like bending and giving a gassho or a bow of some kind. The place, the time of day, the light - oh, that one could burnish her own life like this. Words and images can't do justice to such moments, and all efforts to do so are echos, soupçons, whispers on the north wind. This is enough, she tells herself, this is enough.