Dreaming Posted on May 14, 2012

A reverie is a comfortable place to be. I have just spent ten, fifteen, I’m not sure how many minutes watching Berberis petals float over a weir: tiny flakes of gold on black water, drifting slowly, with a growing sense of purpose, over the surface of my little rock-rimmed pond.

The weir (the whole thing is tiny: the weir three inches across) acts like a magnet, mysteriously setting the surface in motion. Petals settled in the centre of the pool begin almost imperceptibly to move, gradually, gently organizing themselves to head towards the fall. Little groups of four or five move together, as though some force (could it be surface tension?) held them in formation. Individuals feel the same pull and move at the same speed.

I switch focus and look deeper, through clear water to snail trails (if that’s what they are); paler tracks on the leaf-littered bottom. It has always baffled me how we can switch our vision from reflections to the surface, and through the surface to what lies below, with only a change of thought.

Three feet from the weir the petals change course, reset their sails and pick up speed. They keep in their flotillas, but now there is urgency in their drift, they collide, form bigger squadrons, then coalesce into a pool of gold to hurry through the gap between the rocks. They fall perhaps an inch, perhaps two, but just enough to break the surface into silver glints.

As a way of seeing the whole world it is much more interesting than a grain of sand.

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