Monday, August 28, 2006

Light on the water

You don't have to go to some far-off exotic place to find interesting reflections.
This little picture was taken recently in Bristol.

And the following children's song was written many, many years ago after watching light dancing on the water at Millport, on the Isle of Cumbrae.

Light on the Water

Light on the water, the wind in my hair
I wait in the silence to see if you're there.
The world all around me has something to say
Tells me where I can find you
'cause you're everywhere.

I love you, Lord Jesus 'cause you loved me first
You gave me the best when I expected the worst
I maybe don't see you but I know you are there
Just like the light on the water
and the wind in my hair.

The love you have planted is starting to grow
The joy that we want is beginning to flow;
A new kind of feeling is filling the air,
The Spirit is movin' like a light everywhere.

Some people may say there's no reason in me,
No possible reason why I should believe.
But what better reason could there ever be
Than to know you're alive
Because you're livin' in me!
(c) Iain D. Cunningham

Friday, August 25, 2006


What's this 'thing' I have about reflections?
Why do I find photographs of reflections so interesting? (like this one I took in Hong Kong last year)
I've been thinking about this and the only sensible explanation I can come up with is this: reflections remind me that in the real world there's usually more than one way of seeing things. They usually give us at least two ways of seeing something at the same time.
I reckon all the best art encourages us to see things from a different angle or in a different light. Reflections do this for me in a slightly more mundane way.

Recently I've been reading "The Owl and the Stereo" by David Osborne. It seems to make the same kind of point. The way our world is just now, becoming increasingly polarised and divided, we could do with a bit more 'stereo-vision' don't you think?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Blurred Reflections

This little 'snap' was taken last year in Kenya at Lake Nakuru. The solitary pelican about to land among all the flamingos seems to be frozen in mid air, or even stuck onto the photograph at a later date as some afterthought, but believe me it is genuine enough. [I know because I was there and I took the photograph.]

The only sense of movement comes from the reflections which are pretty blurred.

All of this reminds me of a well-known verse in the Bible:
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." [1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV]

I was reflecting on the photograph and the Bible verse because I received very sad news from a friend in Kenya. Her 100-year old grandmother has just died in a house fire, which may have been started deliberately. There are suggestions that the full story may be even more horrific. Of course, we don't have to search far to find horror stories anywhere in the world. I was going to say 'especially these days' but on reflection I suspect it has always been this way. The 21st century has no monopoly on brutality or injustice.
The obvious question is 'why?' Unfortunately, there is sometimes no obvious answer,and we just have to learn to live with the questions until the mist clears and we're no longer looking at the poor reflection but at reality itself.
I once wrote a poem after a particularly tragic occasion which summed up my helplnessness at the time.

Stillborn at Christmas

Cold was the day.
Bitter and cold were our hearts.
The sun shone, clear and bright
but, strangely, without warmth.
we felt forsaken by the Universe,
a gathered knot,
around the loose-ends of the little life
we never knew.

And we buried
the dreams and hopes
that had unravelled.

The flesh became a word
that would not dwell among us.
and I, the spinner of words,
had nothing left to say.

© Iain D. Cunningham

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Reflections on reflections

Since I called this blog "Random Reflections" I thought one thing I might do occasionally would be to post a few random pictures of reflections I've photographed over the years.

My favourite place for taking such photographs has to be Venice. [This one was taken in 2004 on one of my visits to "La Serenissima" with my youngest daughter.]

Just looking at pictures like these makes me feel a sense of calm.

Why do you think we use that word "reflection" to refer to the act of thinking or contemplating quietly? Is it because that way of thinking/meditating involves you bouncing ideas from one part of your mind to another? I certainly seem to end up having conversations in my head when I do that, but then maybe that's just a tell-tale sign of the fact that I'm beginning to lose it!

All I know is that when you start to reflect on something, start to turn it over in your mind, the way you might turn over a pebble you picked up from the beach, you do begin to see it in a new way, whether it is an idea, a person, an event, a place.

I also like the idea that an object which reflects light is actually giving something back because contemplating (in spite of what some people might think) is not actually a selfish activity: it does lead you think a bit more carefully about what you're giving back to others.

I didn't mean to be quite so 'serious' here. I'm not a very serious person most of the time. But I guess that's what happens when you start to reflect on things.

Finally, on the subject of reflections, I had to laugh at this little clip. I know just how he felt!

Starting out

Being new to the whole blog scene I have no idea yet how frequently I will manage to share my random reflections here. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if I will have much to say. That may sound strange coming from someone who does quite a bit of talking for a living, but we'll see how it goes.