Friday, June 07, 2019

Friday Ramble - Reflect

Feeling vaguely restless and in need of something or other, I went for a walk along the lake at twilight this week. I didn't know what the something might be, but I hoped I would have the wits to recognize it when I found it.

When I paused on a favorite ribbon of beach near the bridge, the setting sun was painting a trail across the water, and the ripples at my feet held up a dazzling reflection in return, cloud islands and magical archipelagos floating in the seemingly boundless sky as Helios dropped out of sight for another day. Bulrushes and fronds of pickerel weed fringed the lake, every stem swaying and sighing and casting a fey reflection. Loons drifted on the current like little boats, and herons haunted the shallows nearby.

The scene was one of joyous untrammeled reciprocity - no reservations, no limitations and no holding back, just exquisite buttery light and deep shadow, inky shapes across the water, the cadence of the waves as they greeted the shore. As often as I come here at twilight, the place always leaves me breathless.

The word reflect has been with us since the fourteenth century, coming from the Old French reflecter and the Middle English reflecten, thence the Latin reflectere, all meaning to bend or bend down. Until the fifteenth century, the common usage had to do with diverting things, with turning things aside or deflecting that which is undesirable. Some time around 1600 CE, we began to use the word to describe processes of thought and quiet contemplation. When we use the word in conversation today, we are usually musing about deep thought processes, about light and mirrors - anything and everything except bending.

There were no deep musings by the lake this week, and my thoughts were probably closer to the original meaning of the word reflect than they were to anything else I can think of offhand. Watching the sun go down in flames behind the dusky hills on the far shore, I felt like bending in a deep reverential bow or gassho.  I could manage a shallow movement of sorts that evening, but anything deeper was out of the question. So be it.

Wherever my particles land up after this old life is over, I would like to think that on some level they will remember their origins in a long ago star, and that they are made of light themselves.It's always about the light. Always.


Barbara Rogers said...

Light becoming reflections. Light becoming life.

Tabor said...

The meanings of reflection have also bent and turned it seems. The change from the poetry of the word to the actual science of its process. So interesting. Now I should get up this early morning and do a bow.

Shelley said...

I loved this... so grateful to have you out there wandering the world and reporting back!