Reflections in a Tarnished Mirror

Tarnished reflections

I wake unquiet. Strange dreams involving words I can’t understand, endlessly repeating. Don’t want to get out of bed but I do, I have daily rituals to perform albeit their meanings have become more and more hazy. It’s a Friday morning in April, the year, 2019.

I gaze at the varicolored Sea of Mountains, changing with distance from verdant to bluish to purple, my vantage point a large window in my den, high atop a crest in the central range of the Colombian Andes. I think of us, you and I, and ponder might have beens.

Then I generalize, I think of the greater us, us as a species and of my sons and of other people I love and have loved, and of those I’ve loathed but mostly forgiven, and of those who’ve made us who we are and of those who are destroying all we might have been.

I used to love Friday’s, especially as the business week started to end and the weekend begin. But retirement is slowly making that distinction a bit less relevant. Semi-retirement really, I probably work as much as ever, I’m just not paid. Unless one counts social security; thank you FDR, damn you ex-wives.

Boredom now seems the biggest threat and the one I struggle most to avoid. The quest to find my one true love, recently almost attained, now seems over but who knows. It was “interesting while it lasted” but hellishly expensive, especially at the end.

Reflection comes a bit easier now although not especially heartwarming. Almost everywhere we’re becoming more polarized, less understanding, easier to manipulate; Leo Durocher and George Orwell seemingly more and more prescient, the mainstream media more and more pure, at least evilly so.

Strange given that people in small groups and individually still frequently seem wonderful, as long as romantic aspirations are not involved, or financial relations, or sports, or religion, or politics. Hmmm. Wonder where I’m going with this? I wonder where I’m going period.

I wonder if the road to Hell is really paved with good intentions. If so, what is the road to heaven paved with, the road to purgatory, the road to perdition? I recently saw a film, I think it was called the “Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”. Poverty and injustice so depressingly portrayed, but hope sprang so eternal.

How is it, I wondered, that followers of the three Abrahamic creeds can so vehemently see themselves as good when they tolerate and perpetrate so much evil? Followers of the clearly socialist Jesus so disdainful of his message and so entranced by mere rituals. Kind of like constitutional scholars.

Is it comforting to realize that, were we gone, the Universe would certainly not miss us? That quanta would continue to play at magic even without us as catalysts, at least with respect to our role as observers? That black holes would keep on overindulging and galaxies keep on spinning?  What would become of Schrödinger’s cat?

If there’s life elsewhere, “intelligent life” as we perceive it, would any of it be as incoherent as are we? Or as beautiful? Are galaxies sentient, is the universe? If so, did they become as polarized as we’ve become, explaining why everything is seemingly fleeing from its ancestral home?

If there’s a demiurge, does it reflect on its creation, or did he, she, it or they cast it aside eons ago as a failed experiment, or a broken toy long forgotten, or a lost pet run astray. Or look on embarrassed, the way some parents are wont to do with respect to wayward offspring.

Perspectives and reflections seemingly depend so much on our most recent experiences, what happens when experiences are both infinite and eternal? Do they just fade into introspection? One wonders whether or not Divinity has a navel.

I loved your navel by the way.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2019; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at and much of his writing is available through his blog at

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