"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Sometimes a word shows up, apparently out of nowhere, to bring a message. I rarely understand this with the first appearance of the word. It usually takes the magic of three before I start to pay attention. Sometimes the word hangs around for a very long time before I've learned the lesson it has to teach and it becomes a part of me. Sometimes, although much less often, we bond instantly and the new word finds a ready home.

Past words include Acceptance, Trust, Faith. More recent visitors have included Gentle, Be (as opposed to Do), Lighten Up. The words can be more direct and more timely: Call, Ask, Forgive. One thing is certain - these words always persist until I listen. They are not stopped at magic three if I am so thick I miss the initial invitations to learn.

Last weekend my youngest brother used the word Shimmer to describe a certain sound he makes with the cymbals of his drum set when he plays. Geoff is a talented musician and one of the most creative people I know. He is not a word person. So his use of such a magnificent word as Shimmer caught my attention instantly. I'd never heard it used in a musical sense - not being musically gifted myself - and loved the new-to-my-ears  application. Equally satisfying was my ability to know without being told the exact lightly echoing metallic whisper he meant.

Shimmer has always been a water word for me. The play of light on the gently moving surface of a river. The reflection of a sunset on a calm lake at the end of a perfect summer's day. Tears pooled at the edges of eyes just before they cascade down.

The very next day I heard someone use Shimmer to refer to the effect certain words on a page of writing created for them. My response to that use of my new word was one of delight. I have never used Shimmer to describe writing, but I so understand exactly how words can do that.

The thing is, I can't get it out of my mind - this new word Shimmer. I seem to be applying it to everything. What I'm realizing is how easy it is to use, and how incredibly, soul-tickling wonderful that is.

My being shimmers with this new light of freedom I'm wearing for the first time. My heart shimmers at the kind words of friends. My eyes shimmer with tears of joy at an unexpected gift that is exactly what I wanted without knowing I wanted it. Gratitude shimmers within and without for family relationships that heal and grow and fulfill. Laughter shimmers in the air easily and often for good reasons or no reasons at all. 

Light is essential for Shimmer to occur. And movement. And give. Shimmer is gentle and fluid and soft. Shimmer is dynamic, ever-changing, playful. I love this word.

I'm pretty sure Shimmer has not come to me the official third time yet. I think it has to because the rule of three is pretty firm. Which means that I have more to learn from my new friend. It has more to say to me, more to show me. I wait with shimmering anticipation.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

You're doing it again, making my eyes shimmer with tears when I read your words!!

Deb Cushman said...

I can't wait to find out what the third usage for you will be...
shimmering in anticipation,

contemporary themes said...

You SHIMMER. You really do. In those photos on your recent trip, you SHIMMER. I clicked on them and the enlarged version shows your shimmering eyes, your shimmering stance, your shimmering SMILE that shimmers with JOY! Okay, that was 4 references, but You Do, you know.

Jerri said...

La La's right. You DO shimmer. Count me in on the "can't wait for the third usage" party.

Anonymous said...

I love the word shimmer. It describes perfectly what your writing does to me.

Totally agree with La La, you are so shimmering in your photos. Like sunlight dancing off a lake. It's a great look for you.


Ask Me Anything said...

Every time I read your words, I get teary--and I feel myself there with you. It is an amazing gift.

Mark Lyons said...

A beautifully written entry...and I loved it that your new word came from Geoff. I'm sure he would be thrilled, in his own way, that he exposed you to this new word for you and how it has touched your life.

I loved how your recognized that "Light is essential for Shimmer to occur." I believe that your own life 'shimmers' and it is because you are able to put the darkness of your past behind you and you are stepping into the Light. I look forward to hear how this special new word comes to you for the third time.

Love you.

Deb Cushman said...

Deb, We've given you an award on our blog! This is such a special place, we just had to recognize it and share it with our blogging friends!