Optical Confusions

Things are not always what they seem where I live. I hear myself adding a resounding and quite enthusiastic, “That’s for sure” to second that thought.

Part of the fault rests squarely on my shoulders for I am always in such a rush (life is so short and I have so much yet to do) that I fail to take the time to see what’s really beyond my windows. A glance reveals what isn’t there — or, more frequently, I miss some rarity that was really just waiting for my eyes.

Other times — and, happily, these are in the majority — I really do see what really is there only just not as — or where — I expect it. Wood ducks and woodchucks fit here and may provide future musings.

The lake is often the cause of my mis-sightings for, with the trees blocking more and more of the distant shoreline, what I see I’ll see first as a reflection in the water.

The doe who brought her twins to sip at twilight was a beautiful example for I’d have missed all the wonder of that had I not first seen tan against the trees as a reflection. I was only too happy to put down paper and pen and walk out on the deck for a look that lasted until the threesome turned and disappeared back into the woods.

I love to look for the moon, usually to be found (if at all) when I take the dogs for the last walk of the evening. I doubt it was more than just days ago when I looked up from my sewing and gasped at the huge yellow globe floating as it were in mid-lake. So unexpected — and so big — that I could do nothing but put canvas and yarn down and sit, totally transfixed.

The ball slowly (and yet far too quickly for me) moved away across the lake and disappeared as it reached shore. Happily, it wasn’t too much later when it got through all those trees and appeared rising from the top of the hill. It remained there to light the way for the dogs and me.

What brought all this to mind was another too-quick observation as I passed the window one summer afternoon. I always check the water, stopping more readily for things that seem out of place from what my mind and memory accept as usual. Check list: geese — yes. On shore, swimming, on the dock — too often, on the float — ditto. Nothing else.

I back-tracked quickly. Heron. Upside down.

The silhouette was sharp and unmistakable — in the water. It had to be on the float. I looked again and saw nothing. In fact, had there been someone else close by, I’d have bet the float was empty.

Well, you know what they say about a fool and her money.

Of course a heron was standing on the float, even presenting a nice front-to-end full body view. Only its coloring blended so well with the water and the brush and the grass beyond that one would never have noticed it had it not been for the giveaway reflection.

I’m trying to be more careful in all I see now. Perhaps eventually I’ll even slow down a little.

My world is waiting.

Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for more than 20 years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. Her Reason for Being was published in 2008 with Love in Three Acts following in 2014. Both novels are now available at Lakewood’s Off the Beaten Path bookstore. Information on all the Musings, her books and the author may be found at Susancrossett.com.

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