A “Flit Across the View” is an expression that dates at least as far back as the early to mid 1800’s. It has to do with what we ruminate on not necessarily by design. It is the thought that comes unexpectedly.

It is a flash out of the blue when we visit somewhere from time past, and leave with pleasant, yet unsummoned, memories. Perhaps a song transports us to a different place and time, or a stranger’s face in a crowd reminds us of an old friend or loved one and memories of that person become uppermost in our thoughts.

Less pensive but no less engrossing are the thoughts we are left with after hearing certain news accounts, announcements at work, reports from teachers, gossip at the store, any and all of which may be bad or good. These flits across the view get into our heads despite what we intend to be doing or thinking about, stirs up a whole gamut of emotions from anger to angst to joyous zeal, and decides when to leave…or not… in its own good time.

A flit across the view is just as likely to occur with much more nuance, however. It is the thought that creeps in through the same mysterious and unseen door that ushers in dreams, demanding to be pondered and speculated upon for reason and being until it slips out again just before it can be fully engaged. It is borne of the way the air smells in the spring and how light casts shadows from certain angles of the sun. For Marcel Proust, it arrived as the sensual memory of madelines baked for him as a child.


This is not a journal, diary or personal Op/Ed page. These flits across the view make their way to paper with no intent to rankle or upset friends or strangers. The sharing of them is simply a way of giving voice to thoughts that beg for a voice and that may be not mine alone.