Busy water doesn’t reflect, not really.
You can take that two ways: Literally, meaning that when it’s roiling and bubbling and tumbling over itself, you don’t get to see the sky or your face in it; or figuratively, which is to say that when you get too wrapped in what you’re doing, you’re not thinking, not evaluating.
Most of the time, the water’s busy.
Of course, it’s also not really true that it doesn’t reflect; it’s just that the image is more distorted than usual. Still waters give you clarity, of a sort, anyway. Yeah, they’re hazy and ripply, especially around the edges, even as they’re flat and two-dimensional, but you can at least tell what it is that you’re looking at.
Most of the time.
Busy waters upend all of that in the cascade’s bubble and fall. A glimpse here, a shadow there, images familiar and yet utterly foreign, bits and pieces that find their way in and then haunt the mind.
Do you really look like that?
That’s not the point.
Because, yes, of course you look like that, given enough distortion and a change in perspective, and maybe a squint or two. It’s you and it’s not-you, and both manage to be who you are as surely as both are invisible to you until you get in front of a reflective surface. It’s the oddity of self, that we cannot see us, ever, as others do, and yet part of that is part of who we are.
It’s good to look into still waters and reflect, although Narcissus could tell you of the wisdom in not lingering too long, or at least he could had he not died enraptured by his own reflection. But sometimes, it’s better to look into the busy waters, see what’s there, see who’s there. See you and not-you, see those little bits and pieces of self, those slices and shadows of identity, a glimpse and an echo simultaneously.
Busy waters hold the acts of ancestral memory, the coming together of a thousand generations of blood and bone and DNA to wind around each other, to bob to the surface of the busy waters of the mind to proffer up a dream, a vision, a shadow, an echo of who you are and who you might be and who you’ve never been.
Beneath the bubbles and the ripples and the moiré effects and the waves large and small, that is where memory lives, because she is busy, too.
She is busy reflecting.
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