We were taking our beach walk and amusing ourselves by not allowing the many people who were about to see us when we came across a striking tableau, a crossing between the worlds that the various tourists, singly and in clumps, were ignoring as if it did not exist.
“What is causing that?” Mother asked, because the way the light was intersecting with and playing upon the single upright stalk made it look at first like some sort of rare and twisted sea bird. After we got a few steps closer I was able to supply the answer.
“I think it is a mirraflower,” I said quietly. “Look, it must have slipped in here from the reflected world. What an odd place to take root.”
Mirraflowers from the reflected world are responsible for any number of mirages and visual distortions. In fact, it is these flowers that are usually responsible for the Aurora Borealis, as opposed to the popular superstitious belief that the Aurora is caused by refraction from tiny ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. Instead, the light of the sun is absorbed and projected by a mirraflower in a place where the borders between the worlds have given way, allowing a trans-world light-leak.
“I’ve never seen one rooted over here before,” Mother said thoughtfully, “but I do believe you’re right.” Her eyes narrowed into a small frown of concentration as she took a sip from the thermos we always carry to keep our spirits up when walking along the beach. After a few seconds the tension in her face eased. Whatever thought had bothered her was nothing that logic and a strong cocktail could not counteract.
“I must say that the image…” and here she motioned towards the view, “is amazing.” She turned to me and smiled. “I’ve no scheduled agenda for this weekend, I think we should step through.” I nodded, having no particular plans myself for at least three days. That was usually long enough to step into another world and then find one’s way back, so I was agreeable to seeing a new place. While we looked at the lovely image before us I sipped the icy Vesper Martini within, enjoying the simple potent flavors mingled with tiny, crunchy ice crystals.
Between the two of us we located, confirmed, and plotted out the thinnest meeting point created by the mirraflower… the one that would take us into the void between this world and that one so we could begin our jaunt into the unknown. My mind works in elliptical tangents, sometimes, and just then I had a thought I wanted to share with her.
“Does it seem strange to you,” I asked, “that the mirraflowers can produce such a striking array of reflection and refraction, but they have not true color of their own?”
She paused as I began to step up to the opening and I turned to regard her as she answered.
“Not strange, no,” she replied in a wistful tone, “because in its ideal form, beauty hasn’t an end or a beginning. Remember, the flower, too, is reflected. And since both are real to us, does it matter which one came first?”