Memorial Day approaches – a holiday left relatively unsullied by commercialism and which still holds much of its original intent. And amidst the picnics and family gatherings and working in the garden I hope you’ll take a moment to remember those who have served and who still serve this great country – and no matter your politics, offer your thanks in your own way for the freedoms they secured and help to preserve for us all.
But also at this time of reflection, I like to take the time to look at life and upon the journey so far.
I love the picture above. Its far from one of my best and I hope one day to capture that image the way I see it in my mind’s eye, but it speaks to me in many ways and – if you’ll permit – I’ll share a few of those with you.
The view is at the entrance to a National Park, less than 10 minutes from home. It doesn’t take one’s breath away or make one feel infinitesimally small in the scheme of the universe like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, but it is filled with nature and life and small pleasures at every turn and I love to visit and walk and learn and ponder. And my favorite time of day to visit is when the light is right to cast this reflection.
To me, reflections are a metaphor for life – a yin and a yang, what is and what might be, the real and the imagined. Sometimes the reflection is almost an exact mirror image of the reality, and virtually indistinguishable from it – re-affirming where we are and where we want to be. Other times the reflection is slightly off-focus – a hazy dream that helps us to see and feel and imagine in a new and different way. Sometimes the reflection is blurred almost to the point of being unrecognizable, perhaps reminding us of where we’ve lost our way and when a course correction may be in order. And most disconcerting is when we confuse the reflection for the reality – and find that we are traveling a path that is upside down and backwards from what we intended.
None of the above viewpoints is really better or worse than the others. Some make us feel good while others make us question – but all can make us think. And when we think, we learn – and when we learn, we grow.
The next time you see a reflection – be it a graceful arch duplicated in shimmering water or a mirror’s honest view of the face you present to the world – take a look at what that reflection tells you about yourself and your life, where you are and where you wish to be – and then, perhaps, dare to plan the course ahead.