The Terror of Reflection

I'm reading Wickerby: An Urban Pastoral by Charles Siebert, which begins in that effortlessly melodious way that looks easy, but when you let your eye linger a bit you realize it is much more than that. Siebert opens with an epigraph from Thoreau, that great but ascetic mind: "We soon get through with Nature. She excites an expectation which she cannot satisfy." And then he begins:

Just across the street from my sixth-story Brooklyn apartment, there's an abandoned apartment inhabited by pigeons. Like me, they have the top-floor place, and looking from my living room, I can see them returning to theirs--hundreds, near dusk, clapping about the windows, resisting the sills in order to land upon them, softly, and then gather themselves into darkening rooms.

All I see here this evening, back now after so many months alone in the woods, are the rooms stacked everywhere into the air around me--millions of windowed squares about to come forward in the twilight for another brief stalemate with the stars. When night fell at Wickerby, the only lights for miles were the cabin's, and I had to be careful then about moving around too much inside because Lucy, my dog, would bark at my reflection in the windowpanes, and I'd be left paralyzed with fear at the thought of who or what in all that darkness might be out there.

Oh, the terror of reflection. I love it.

1 thought on “The Terror of Reflection”

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top