The Owens River on a cloudy winter day, running south from Bishop down the Owens Valley.

The river is straight here, where the valley floor widens and flattens. In Pleasant Valley, to the north, oxbows rule, the river always turning tightly, and somewhat turbulent. This run is long and smooth enough to make a decent mirror, which you can see in the reeds at the edges.

But the bulk of the reflected image is sky, full of soft clouds that seem out of focus. Where our eyes expect detail, we find only jumbled light. The message is blurred, only the mood is transmitted. Though the Inyo Mountains are small in the distance, the snow cover chills the mind.

Turn up your collar, sit on the crunchy ground, watch the bubbles, and listen for birds.