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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. March's Theme: "Reflection"
Volume 5 Issue 3 ISSN# 1708-3265
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After a Snow Storm: A Reflection
by Alegria Imperial

I woke to a brilliance that washed into my window as Southwest Airlines floated past Denver on its route from Seattle to Baltimore on Christmas Day. The light, I realized peering down, had burst not out of cloud openings as is usual in a flight but from this illumined surface below. A swatch of snow-brushed ground textured among crags where snow must have driven piles; smoothed ridges on low lying slopes like tear-stained cheeks as if a lover had touched after a rift where snow must have blown slanting, smoky and mysterious as veiled eyes where the storm left a shroud of tulle on a lake, magnificence where words slide.

Words do not make such an immediate moment, wherein awe overwhelms. Nothing happens then but a temporary freeze as the senses are stunned. The eyes, windows that they actually are to the vastness out there and the vastness we carry within, merely encounter a kind of reflection that mirrors some truth; which at that moment is only a shape, an image, however awesome it appears.

But is everyone struck at all times by such a reflection? Did everyone in that flight soak in the magnificence below? No. A woman in the window seat behind me was dozing. A man in the aisle seat across from me fiddled with his Blackberry. Behind him, an older man played cards with his sons. Perhaps a few others did gaze at the reflection of a longed-for other worldly or even heavenly beauty; I wouldn't have seen them from my seat. One thing I know is that attentiveness and focus to moments which lead to reflection are earned. Masters of the mind have taught us this: the more still a pool, the clearer it is and the deeper it flows.

Reflection then has nothing to do with the nature of reality as in the astounding beauty of that snow scene; it does with the realm of essences as in the meeting of the visual sense and that landscape for those who had set eyes on it. Wherein lies the difference? Among those who barely glanced at the scene, reality is what had been close at hand—the cards for the father and his sons, for instance, in which the essence of the moment meant joy in the game. To those who gazed at the scene, like me and Tina from Bellingham beside me seated by the window, reality was beyond what we were seeing; and thus, its essence laid in what would later surface from the stillness of the moment.

Silence. Quietude. Stillness, where reality set against an opaque background bounces back shorn of weight and texture, defines the moment of reflection. It is the moment when reality washes into the eye and seeps into that deep vastness within us. There, realities metamorphose into truths revealing themselves often not immediately but hours, days, even years later. Some truths rise unexpectedly as a passing thought, others wing in only when the mind is unchained. For many, this depth remains unreachable, and the truths, untapped. But for the few who have disciplined the senses, they merely slink into it. Some are known prodigies of reflection, most take years to attain it. For me, it had seemed like a lifelong process and I often regressed, though I had persisted to start over and over again.

That I must have advanced somehow toward the stillness I realized days after I landed in Baltimore and began to think about how I would write this piece. Reflecting on the theme, I felt as sleek as a diver yet floating and fluttering in the deep as a butterfly fish, rising and breathing freely in the vast stillness, encountering a truth the snow scene revealed to me. And it was this: the essence of true beauty is peace, the absence of resistance and stress a moment impinges as it passes into perfection. True peace thus lies in an absolute faith in the moment—that with its passing if not fought comes transformation, even with violence as in the snow storm just over which carved the mystifying scene.

A seeker of truth and peace after tangled pathways, I have also found a voice in my search. A retired journalist, I have since focused on poetry and fiction. I launched my first book in Manila before migrating to Vancouver last year and recently received two honourable mentions for poetry.

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