Across the thumb-shaped north end of the lake, if your vantage point is near the mouth of the Lake Tunnel, there is a puffed up open expanse of farmland. By my reckoning it runs between the Geneva Yacht Club and Rose Hill Mansion.
It is most noticeable of course, in stick season when the trees are naked. Through the fog across the months of memory, those fields in green season — whatever the crop or maybe even fields for haying — are obscured by trees along the shoreline and higher up on the landscape. But I could be wrong. Honestly, I don’t have even a vague picture in my mind of this scenery in warm weather, in spite of the fact I see it nearly every day during the verdant months. Check in with me in May and I can tell you for sure whether or not these same open fields are clearly visible.
It is the snow. My phone says we have had only 1.85 inches of precipitation in the past twenty-four hours, most of it was rain. But sometime in the dark hours of the early morning, there came a very light dusting of snow. It will likely be gone by noon but at seven in the morning it was clumping on the wet grass. That makes those open spaces across the lake appear as a pristine carpet of white.
The dark scrawling arms of leafless trees splinter against the background of snow covered fields. In contrast to the low hanging strands of gray horsetail vapors straffing the water and layering over the dense wall of gray sealing off blue or light from above, the snowy fields brighten the earth. Maybe it is only a drab cornfield stubbled with the waste of last season’s stalks, but with a layer of delicate new flakes laid out like the finest linen tablecloth, it appears fresh and beautiful.
Celebrity is the same thin veneer of shining clean elegance as that meager layer of snow on the fields across the lake. Actors in movies or on stage train to appear as someone they are not, and politicians create an image and talking points — even a rhetoric and cadence — to cover over the actual. So-called “influencers” on social media do what they do with a spray of words and features to haze the actual with the virtual. Even the news, which is supposed to be our eye on the truth, delivers it through a lens that has no peripheral vision and only shines a light on what it decides we should see. In the midst of it all, we forget and ascribe authority to people who are…well, just people.
Joe Biden or Donald Trump selling truth, Matt Damon or Tom Brady selling crypto — just people. All we get to know of them is a digital image. We react to that image and make decisions about whether they are trustworthy or likeable. But we have no idea, it’s just an image. What they do, not what they say or how they look, is the only way to know. Just like you and me — what we do is the substance of who we are. Surely celebrity can’t be our guide for admiring or voting for people. Rather, their actions and what they do are the truth of who they are.