Mirror Lakes, New Zealand

A reflection of a mountain in a slough reminds me that, sometimes, I just have to wait for it all to come clear.


We pull off the road for what is briefed as a five-minute stretch stop that just happens to be scenic, too. Of course, you can’t get 30 people off and on a bus inside five minutes, much less troop them all along a path made treacherous with photographic opportunities, even on an overcast day that is threatening rain. But we get the point – we’re en route to a tightly scheduled appointment with an even more scenic cruise at Milford Sound, so we can’t dilly dally.

As I walk along the boardwalk, I catch glimpses of water through the trees: small enough bodies of water that I’d be tempted to call them sloughs, albeit without the usual attendant scum. But nothing spectacular. What are we here for, again?

Then I walk around a bend, and the trees break just where the water widens. Et voilí ! Now I see why they call these ponds the Mirror Lakes.

Reflection of snowcapped mountains in small pond in New Zealand.

Oh, now I get it.


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8 Responses to Mirror Lakes, New Zealand

  1. Magical. And then I remember that the brain inverts the image as it falls on the retina so that in some sense this mountain is right-side-up. The water weeds in the foreground, I think, are just right for emphasizing the paradox of mountains suspended in water and standing on their peaks. A memorable metaphor!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill be made low? (Amazing stuff in Isaiah.) (Even more amazing stuff tucked away in the recesses of my brain . . .) I saw an art card at a sidewalk sale in Edmonton, maybe five years ago, that pulled me over to the table – it had been put back upside down. But as I reached for it, I realized that it was right-side-up – but the reflection was so perfect it tricked the eye. The brain, I guess, really. The photographer laughed and said that people had been turning his card upside down all day.

  2. Since you raise memories of other water mirror reflections where I have been so drawn to the reflection that I had to take a step back from the water’s edge, I think the inversion from “normal” must also affect the ears, producing a slight vertigo. The ear adjusts eye focus; the discrepancy from normal memories of those shapes solidly based on terra firma must feed back to the ear, disorienting the vestibular system’s usual neural pathways. Fascinating! But the reference to Isaiah is a word in season and orients the soul.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Vertigo is a nasty sensation, at least for me, triggering all that fear-of-falling reaction, that momentary disorientation. The connections between ears, eyes, and brain must be complex indeed!

  3. Marion Neiman says:

    Fabulous photo, Isabel.

  4. Dave Jobson says:

    Leone and I have fond memories of our journey to Milford Sound in 1999. Our tour bus guy’s company was called Trips and Tramps. There were six of us excluding the driver. An American couple, a British couple and ourselves.We even stopped for tea and biscuits along the way. He heated the water over a small camp stove. We passed several large busses of tourists and felt blessed to be part of a small friendly more personal tour. The outfit was recommended to us by our B&B host.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Dave – Our group stopped for champagne and OJ, to celebrate the crossing of the 45th parallel south. But, yes, small groups are almost always the better way to go.

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