Friday, June 10, 2022

Friday Ramble - Reflect

Feeling vaguely restless and in need of something or other, I went for a walk along the lake at twilight. 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 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, cloud islands and shimmering archipelagos floating in the seemingly boundless sky as Helios dropped out of sight for another day. Bulrushes and fronds of pickerel weed fringed the shore, every stem swaying 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 around for centuries, coming from the Old French reflecter and the Middle English reflecten, thence the Latin reflectere (re meaning back plus flectere meaning to bend). Deflect and genuflect are kindred wordsUntil the late 1500s, reflecting had to do with diverting things, with turning them aside or bending them away. Some time around 1600 CE, we also began to use it to describe intervals of quiet contemplation, moments when we turn our attention toward the past, sifting through our experiences for little wisdoms, for mind scraps and snippets of times gone by. 

There were no deep thoughts by the lake that night, and my musings were probably closer to the original meaning of this week's word than they were to the way it is generally used now. As the sun went down in flames over the hills on the far shore, I  felt like bending in a deep reverential bow or gassho, but that was out of the question. I could manage a feeble, shallow movement of sorts, but anything deeper was out of the question. So be it. No reflecting, deflecting or genuflecting for this old bod.

Wherever my particles land up after this old life is over, I would like to think that they will remember how the setting sun was reflected in the lake that night, how beautiful the world was at the end of day, how perfect the light. It is always about the light. Always.

1 comment:

Jim Cummings said...

Light on water, especially!