Reflections on life and the questions we are asked

We all take time out at some point to consider our reflections on life. Not only our own lives. That is when we discover everything is a reflection of something else.

Reflection is the change in direction of a wavefront at an interface between two different media, so that the wavefront returns into the medium from which it originated.


Common examples include the reflection of light, sound and water waves. The law of reflection says that for specular reflection the angle at which the wave is incident on the surface equals the angle at which it is reflected. Mirrors exhibit specular reflection.

reflections on life - the land and sky surrounding a lake

In acoustics, reflection causes echoes and is used in sonar.

In geology, it is important in the study of seismic waves. Reflection;

is observed with surface waves in bodies of water.

is seen with many types of electromagnetic wave, besides visible light.

of VHF and higher frequencies is important for radio transmission and for radar.

Even hard X-rays and gamma rays can be reflected at shallow angles with special “grazing” mirrors.


Is everything a Reflection?

It would appear everything is a reflection. These are all reflections on life.

Our mood is a reflection of the way we feel. It is our way of sending a message without actually saying anything.

A camera will reflect a scene as nature presents it in a split second of time, and produce an image of the scene to prove it.

The state of our bank account may reflect on good luck, bad luck or how hard we worked last month. It is a barometer.

Living thirty kilometres North of Chiang Mai city, I am blessed with beautiful rural surroundings. Farms, villages, forest, mountains and rivers embrace me.

My camera and I captured the walk this morning. There was a fine reflection in the water, as I reflected on a question posed to me a while ago.

‘You walk for an hour every morning, and the only thing you change slightly is the route you take. Don’t you ever get bored with seeing the same things every day?’

On reflection, a simple question became complex

reflection of the sunset in a rice paddy
Sunset over new rice

On the face of it, it was a simple question. A complex question when I wondered what the person who asked it was thinking. Sensibly, I resisted the urge to reply, and allowed my brain to assess the thought behind it. This was a person I had known, or thought I had known, for some time.

At that moment I realised that our relationship was on a more superficial level than I had previously thought. We had always communicated one-dimensionally, where food is food, and beer is beer. We never spent long hours together. I was always happy in his company. I could relax and did not think too much. So, there were benefits.

Shortwave or Longwave?

An irrigation canal that comes from the resrvoir in the mountains north of Chaing Mai
Irrigation canal and lock gates in Northern Thailand

We were clearly not on the same wavelength when it came to observation through sight, smell, feeling and sound.

It had never occurred to me that anyone could take a walk along the same path every day and imagine that the experience would be the same each time. The beauty of life is that nothing is ever the same and nothing can ever be repeated.

Every sunrise and every sunset are unique just as our DNA is. I could walk the same walk every day for a hundred years, and it would never be the same. Would I ever meet the same people in the same place wearing the same clothes?

The morning light, mist, sun, reflections and shadows would never be the same. I would never know whether the dogs would want to walk with me or go their own way. Will the water in the river be up this morning, running fast or just a meandering trickle? If I don’t take my camera will I miss the shot of a lifetime?

I couldn’t answer the question

It was then I knew I could not answer the question, except to say simply – ‘No’.

Ever since I have always preferred to walk alone. I do not ever want to say, ‘What’s that beautiful smell?’ and hear the answer, ‘What smell?’

Final Thought

When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Songwriters: Zippel David Joel / Wilder Matthew

Let Christna Aguillera give you a beautiful rendition of reflections from the movie Mulan.