Purple Passages and a Mirror



The earth laughs in flowers.”     –  Ralph Waldo Emerson



Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.   – Ernest Holmes


Mirrors can both reflect and distort as Tennyson suggests:

And moving through a mirror clear

That hangs before her all the year . . .

But in her web she still delights

To weave the mirror’s magic sights . . .

– The Lady of Shalott

An old friend is the best mirror.   – George Herbert

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Definition of photograph before the digital era: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.    – Ambrose Bierce

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.  – Dorothea Lange

Later we’ll look at photographs, the way every family does, making much of the frozen moments, the icons of ancestry, the dead laughing right in your face, or just staring that non-committal historical gaze.”     – Patricia Hampl   The Florist’s Daughter SadieLandisPortrait


What Tallulah Bankhead thinks about photographs: They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum. Ha!

*  *  *

Photographs and mirrors. Your thoughts or quotes about either.

Do you think they have anything in common?


Coming next: Milk Bread: Good for What Ails You


25 thoughts on “Purple Passages and a Mirror

  1. Good morning! Quick response before I get to work.The Emerson quote makes me laugh in delight! I love the Dorothea Lange quote–exactly right. Have you heard Loreena McKinnett’s song version of Lady of Shallot?


    1. McKinnett’s song is new to me: Wistful and contemplative just like the poem and with all those amazing pre-Raphaelite paintings – wow! I appreciate your making this your morning “snack” before charging into the finishing touches on your book. Thanks for the comment and the link, Merril.


  2. Marion — When I wake up in the morning I make a point of saying a smiling hello to my face in the mirror. But when I brush my teeth and floss, I make a point of looking into my eyes (not my face as a whole) during the process. That’s the time I use to ask God “just for today” to please gift me with peace of mind and a joy-filled heart. It never fails.


        1. There is a sweet story about the mirror you see that my friend Sandra gave to me on my birthday. She has triumphed over many serious illnesses and tells me that when she was very ill, she would look into the mirror and smile as she noted the words on the mirror’s frame, “You are beautiful.” In fact, she had several mirrors around the house to remind her of her inner beauty as her body was recovering with God’s help.

          Thank you for encouraging us to greet each day with joy, not grimaces! 🙂


  3. Thanks so much for another inspiring set of quotes that could only have been collected by YOU, Marian. Here’s a lovely one I want to remember, and, even though we are “new” friends, it will remind me of our “old” connections.

    An old friend is the best mirror. – George Herbert

    Thanks, too, for your kind sharing of my book’s 1.99 price today only. Hope your readers can benefit.


    1. That George Herbert – I don’t remember this particular quote from any of his poems I taught, but it certainly strikes a chord. There is a note above about the giver of my birthday-gift mirror, a sweet reflection.

      You’re welcome, happy to share your birthday sale offer.


    1. You are always so punny, Judy, on your posts and in your comments here. Thank you for linking photographs, memories and mirrors — reflecting and sometimes even refracting our experiences into something new or different.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like my posts. Sometimes I find topics blowing in the wind and other times they are right in front of my nose.

      Your readers, I have a feeling, would probably enjoy reflections on your antique mirrors, Anita.


    1. Yes, mirrors are shadows of the real thing, one way to describe them. And they do send out mixed messages, as you point out. It’s interesting how my readers see things – I didn’t think of the contrast between the exuberance of flowers and the ambiguity of mirrors until you pointed this out. The beauty of blogging – thank you, Marylin.


  4. I love photographs, the older the better. I have a collection of photographs that include my daughter, myself and all the generations of grandmothers to her great-great-great-great-grandmother. I love that our family saves pictures. And I agree, it is like looking in a mirror. All those strong women have made me and my daughter who we are. Your quotes are wonderful!


    1. Yes, these photos of our ancestors ARE like mirrors. I appreciate your pointing out the great connection between the two topics, mirrors and photography. The photograph on this post is of my Grandma Sadie Landis Metzler (standing left rear) whom I never met. She died when my mother was nine.

      How wonderful that your family can trace its ancestry back 5 generations. Wouldn’t they been absolutely astonished by our exhibiting them as role models on the internet. Ha! Thanks for the insight, Darlene.


  5. Once again you have open my mind to something new. Your readers have too. Oh what a great reminder that we as children of God are mirrors a reflection of his love. Poems, Quotes, pictures, and songs are God’s gifts to us to treasure. Thank you all for the wonderful treasures.


    1. And thank you, Gloria, for reading and adding a new idea. You are definitely a godly mirror reflecting His love to many. Obviously, you have a wonderful sphere of influence and you make the most of it.


  6. Beautiful quotes here Marian. I love the quote from Tennyson, the mirror reflects and distorts, oh yes it does. Some see truth, some see what they would prefer to envision. 🙂


  7. Tallulah, I’m with you. And I love the Dorthea Lange quote. She was a genius at capturing time. Thanks for inspiring me with these great quotes, Marian.


    1. I remember Dorothea Lange mostly because of her Depression-era photos. And now I discovered a quote from her. I agree with you on both Tallulah and Dorothea. 🙂

      Glad you like the quotes. There are a handful of new ones every month in Purple Passages. Thanks, Elaine.


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