In the Reflection


In the Reflection

Today as I passed by the conservancy ponds on my walk I noticed the open water.  We’ve had almost three weeks of above average temps and today was sunny and 42 degrees.  Last week the water on the ponds was snowmelt that collected on top of the ice.  But today, it was clear that there was about a twenty-yard by thirty-yard section of open water.  It caught and held the bright blue sky.

Reflections in water are fascinating.  As I stand and look upward the blue appears infinite.  As I gaze down at the reflection of the sky in that open water it seems to pull the infinite down into it.  To stand there at the edge is like standing at the edge of eternity.

I have mentioned before that my first love is moving water.  And being from Wisconsin is such a blessing because we have literally thousands of cricks, creeks, streams, branches and rivers.  Each has its own personality.  It is not so easy to say that running water, especially as it gets to the stream stage, has its own identity.  That’s because the nature of the land it runs through shapes and re-shapes its water. 

If the land drops in elevation the water begins to take voice.  It can giggle over and around rocks and gravel.  It can roar and surge over huge ice age boulders.  But at some point the land and the water tires and flattens out in stretches that are deep and brooding.  If you are going to paddle, or even more so if you intend to wade a current, you learn to read the river or you may find yourself washed ashore much worse for wear.

But it is quiet water where the reflection lies.  Is it a mirror projecting back up, or is it a portal opening downward?  There are as many possibilities as you have memories and dreams. 

I see a freckled suntanned boy of eight with a crewcut, a jack knife in his pocket, and a pair of Redball Jet tennies on his feet.   His biggest concern is whether tomorrow he should play in the park, ride his bike, or run the wide-open fields.  Even those are not real choices because if he wants, and it doesn’t rain, he can do all three and still leave time for unplanned adventure.

Then, I see a long-haired boy, suddenly taller, though still lean.  This reflection shows the sad discovery of self-consciousness and self-doubt.  Like a stream he has a flow but no specific direction.

Now I see a young man on the edge of love.  I wish the reflection looked carefree and confident.  But reflections can only show what’s there, or at least what is visible.

And here I see a middle-aged man with already-thinning hair and the seriousness of life written across a furrowed brow.  I note the eyes because I know what’s reflected in them.  A spark of light in the corner kindled by the joy of wife and children, and a slight downward gaze because that self-doubt continues to hold.  I see the weight of responsibility pressing hard on his shoulders.

Now I see an older man.  Some, I know, see an old man.  Most of the hair is gone and the beard is silver, even white in streaks.  Here is where the reflection fails the most it seems, because reflections only reflect the exterior.  I know the heart.  Seasoned love yes, but deeper in conviction runs deep there.  And, deep within the eyes, there are still undreamed dreams, a glowing bed of embers, hopes more expansive than the horizon.  Finally, I am not afraid to look at my reflection.  I know home.  I know who I am.  I know whose I am.  Let the water be calm and peaceful, for so is my heart.

Oh look, a smile!

His Peace <><

Deacon Dan    

Photo by Pete Godfrey on Unsplash