Have you heard of glimmers? They're considered the opposite of a trigger, something that sparks momentary joy, inspiration and peace, and they are abundant in natural surroundings. Catherine S. Pond shares her take on how country living lends itself to capturing the glimmers in life, and how to experience more of your own.
I’ve always loved the word glimmer: the way it sounds like it means, how it evokes something shimmery and wonderous, perhaps unique to the person experiencing it.
The spiritual and cosmic side of me would like to think it’s a wink back from the Universe, or at least a fleeting portal into its mysteries.
Recently on social media, I have seen the word referred to as the opposite of a trigger. Something that inspires awe in small doses, bringing a bit of joy to your day, rather than something that takes away from it with an unpleasant reminder.
It seems as a society, we’re triggered by everything these days — so let’s be “glimmered” instead!
I have realized that I experienced daily and seasonal glimmers here in the country and on our farm
Glimmers provide micro-moments of bliss, perhaps a wee epiphany of thought. They aren’t meant to last, but provide visual or auditory cues to remind us that life is a special gift and that it can be as quick as the glimmers themselves.
Glimmers also propel us into the very moment that we are experiencing them, and for that reason, they pull us into the present.
Having arrived at sixty, I have begun to experience a palpable compression of time and the awareness that there is less of it, all while seeming to move faster. It creates a kind of paralysis. I can not stop the time that I have left in this life, but I can attempt to enjoy it more, and to better utilize it.
I am convinced that the tools designed to enable us to save time are actually giving us less of it
Our smartphones and computers, designed to save time, actually hold more of our attention.
In that hyper-focusing, we ignore time or become “time blind,” and soon enough, several hours are just gone.
But when we spend the same amount of time using our hands or working on something tangible and tactile, time seems to stretch like taffy — thickened and corded, smooth and beautiful.
We can’t really experience electronic glimmers. They have to be unscripted and in the natural world, and entirely unexpected.
The backlash to the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century was the hand-hewn Arts & Crafts Movement with handmade, or non-machine-reliant, goods.
The Romantic movement of the same era also understood and attempted to capture glimmers in music, literature and art — and provided an escape into the sublime and powerful beauty of nature.
Prosperous industrialists built country estates far removed from the grit of their factories and worker housing.
But glimmers are something everyone can experience — so with our lives firmly now in the Technological Revolution, natural glimmers are the things we didn’t realize that we needed.
Here are some of my ideal “glimmer” times — and recent or memorable glimmers— right here on our farm or in the surrounding countryside:
- Sitting on the porch with coffee in the early morning sun and watching a hummingbird dart between my red geraniums
- Listening to the barn swallows chitter and watching them dart and chase around the farm
- Experiencing entire days with nothing but birdsong and cow sounds through wide open windows while I work and write
- A constant gentle breeze through those windows or while being outside
- Some evenings when it is so quiet, you strain to hear anything, and then you just surrender to the silence
- Having that nocturnal silence pierced by yipping coyotes in the distance or an owl hooting in the woods
- Studying the depths of a flower blossom or coming across a secret cache of Kentucky wildflowers on a country roadside
- Opening a new “old” book purchased in a favorite bookshop on a recent trip and discovering several four-leaf clovers that had been pressed within it, easily 75-100 years ago
- Tasting a ripe peach, or local strawberries, after not eating processed sugar for weeks
- Receiving an unexpected box in the mail of long-ago photographs and letters written to a childhood friend
- Catching the vanilla scent of Heliotrope or Sweet Alyssum from my container garden
- Hearing a favorite Bach Brandenburg Concerto movement again after a very long while and experiencing several moments of transcendence (and the thought that this must be what Heaven sounds like)
- Seeing one of my grandchildren beam back at me in real-time and reveling in their presence in my life
- Driving across the Great Plains and watching cloud formations for long stretches of time
- Happening to catch sunrise and moonset, or moonrise and sunset, around the same time on the Nebraska prairie (possible only a few times a month)
- Driving through a favorite valley on the way home and seeing a full moonrise over a hill on an early fall evening at twilight, with just the right conditions to be distorted and huge (and no camera in the car!)
- Seeing the end of a rainbow right over a favorite farm! (And then pulling the car over to photograph it and realizing the camera wasn’t charged —its own kind of “See, you are meant to savor the moment, not photograph it!” kind of glimmer.)
Most glimmers can’t be recorded or photographed — only remembered. So welcome the glimmers in your day! Be open and accept them for what they are; very special moments to be savored — and remembered.
[And here’s a secret: I’m willing to bet that living a country life provides a more conducive environment for glimmers, at least from the natural world—and in the uncertain world we now live in, that’s reason enough right there to move to a rural oasis of your own!]
Wishing you a holiday season full of glimmers!