I leaned over the railing, looked down into the shallows, and couldn’t help but notice that rays of reflected light, bouncing off the surface, and those of transmitted light playing among irregularities within the creek bed, interacted chaotically to give the impression that the surface of the water was tessellated. The effect was mesmerizing. I was surprised to learn,  many years ago, that the verb mesmerize was derived from the name of the German physician Franz Mesmer who believed that magnetic energies moved freely between the living and the nonliving. It was the balance between and among these energies that Mesmer believed he could adjust (via the act of mesmerization) and thereby restore good health to his patients. The human expression of these forces was called Animal Magnetism.  Perhaps, if I had tarried at the railing, the effects of mesmerization might have been realized. As it was the spell was broken by the call of afternoon chores … the animals needed to be fed as did the wood stove, our only source of heat at this time of year.

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