Meet the mirror, tip the time-line
I don’t like mirrors; they show me a stranger who I don’t like or sometimes don’t even recognise. I don’t look the way I think I do, inside, and often the fact that there is no correspondence between my inner image and what I see in the mirror means I seldom linger at a mirror. I wash my face, put on make up, do my hair and my teeth and hardly look, because it leaves me so despondent. I’ve never been pretty, but like Maude Gonne (who was a famed beauty in her time and inspired poet WB Yeats to write some very great poetry) I do have my “moments of glad grace” that might pass for beauty for someone like me.
Today I have felt a touch on my left hand a number of times, like a feather brushing my skin, but there is nothing there. At first I thought a hair was tickling me or a fly, but there was nothing. I got a dim impression of someone trying to attract my attention.
Then this evening, I passed the mirror in the bathroom and I saw something else looking back at me, rather than the usual rather tired blonde with a face like an earnest horse that is desperate to show everyone how clever it actually is and I stopped dead for a moment.
Gazing back at me, somehow, was the little girl I used to be and the old woman I will become. They were not phantoms but they were there in my own familiar half-hated workaday face, as definite as my own bones. I saw in my wiry hair the softness of childhood and the spider-silk of old age, all in the same silver gilt my hair is now, poised in its turning to grey. In my eyes, which are the colour of the north sea in winter, changeable and deep, I saw the pure blue innocence of the child I once was and the deep grey green wisdom of an old woman I may yet become.
I paused, struck by something odder yet that the appearance of these two. It was that as I saw them, I could see they were beautiful and yet, seeing my own face, I could not see it in me. And yet, they are me. How can this be, that I cannot see my beauty in this time but in other times, I can?
I’m probably halfway through my life, and yet, what have I done, and what have I yet to do? Both these questions are what my other selves might ask of me and they did not. If anything they just showed me their loveliness that I am unable to accept in myself.
I am not sure what this encounter means but I’d like to share with you a song by someone who expresses it better than I can, this sense of time tipping and the need to mark the passing of time. Carolyn Hillyer writes very beautiful music that sadly I cannot find on
You-Tube but if you visit www.seventhwavemusic.co.uk
you can find samples to listen to and perhaps to buy.
Meet the mirror, melt and merge there
Tilt the mirror, tip the time-line
Mind the mirror, mind you mark time
Mid-line, it’s your turn to turn time
(Meet the Mirror, from Old Silverhead, songs and initiations of Woman-hood
by Carolyn Hillyer)
I’m feeling very unsettled by this experience and the sense that I am
perhaps running out of time. It seems only a few years ago that I was that child with bright blue eyes, that have long since turned to that sea colour; can it be that it is an even shorter time before I become that old woman?