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I like to walk on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
Now is the time of day when buildings cast shadows upon the ground – the time leading toward sunset, dusk, and eventually the one large dark shadow of the night that isn’t a shadow.
It’s late afternoon, and I am heading east. I notice my shadow leading the way, so I watch my inseparable companion and think about its representation. Shadows are outstretched images – a game to those who try to catch it.
Shadows are those two-dimensional silhouettes hiding identity – those Imperfect and faint imitations formed by blocking rays of light. Seemingly a remnant of the original figure, shadows are obscurity blocking the unconscious side of a personality.
Shadows are a faint representation of something – also a box, a game, and a situation with doubt – casting doubt by tarnishing reputation through old sins. Long shadows cast a dark sense, such as death shadows and shadowy figures. Who knows what evil lurks?
Shadows become longer as time moves toward the setting sun. Eventually, the shadows of the night become a time when yellows, greens, blues, and reds all appear as shadowy gray.
When I think of shadows, I cannot forget that they are the star of an eclipse – a phenomenon of a slowly moving shadow in the heavens giving us a unique time of obscurity. A total solar eclipse displays a perfect umbra at the perfect time at a perfect place – a time when, just for a short moment, day becomes night.
I recall one year here at the beach – a night of a lunar eclipse. I awakened very early and noticed a bright light coming through the window in the next room. I got up and watched the changing shadow of a lunar eclipse for several hours as the moon slowly lowered in the sky. Five minutes after watching the shadowy moon disappear below the western horizon, I went onto the balcony to watch the sunrise over the eastern horizon – a new sun casting long shadows to the west.
Without light, there are no shadows. No wonder we embrace the light of day. The shadows of a day change what we see at various locations, such as the Grand Canyon – changing the visual of something standing still. I wonder, how much of Earth’s beauty is due to shadows?
During a hot, sunny day, we embrace the presence of a shadow as we retreat to shade for a respite – a place to cool down, have a drink, rest, sit to dream, or even have a nap.
I marvel at how visual artists as painters and photographers work with shadows to enhance a painting or photograph. No wonder Michaelangelo said, “The true work of art is but a shadow of divine perfections.”
Some of us act as a shadow when we follow someone to learn in their footsteps, But the follower cannot be afraid of their own shadow because there will be a time they must step out of the mentor’s shadow to be themselves.
As our time marches toward the Valley of the Shadow of Death, we become a shadow of who we were. Yet, that long shadow of our life positively touched many. It is in that manner that our shadow remains in this world by living through others. That is the shadow’s influence.
Some shadows we cannot see, but we feel its presence. The shadow of a deep friendship or love that we miss – one separated by distance and time – maybe even as grief in their passing. Whereas some speak of the shadow of the wind, but I’m unsure of that. However, I realize only the shadow knows.
Best friends are not shadows because they don’t change with the sun, then disappear after sunset. Best friends are not a sense of gloom, mystery, and unhappiness because they are always present no matter the time of day – no matter the day – no matter the week – no matter the month – simply no matter the time.
Sad and monotonous, shadows are playful in the light – coming and going – staying close to us like a coward or one who is frightened – maybe it is afraid of itself. But, the possibility exists that the shadow is watching over us as a protective guardian. However, to others, the shadow is a ghost.
There are several sandpipers ahead of me. I change my focus from the bird to its shadow – watching the shadow change relative to its position to the sun. Oh no – the shadow is alive! The shadow is alive because I saw the shadow poop!
After a long day or night, many of us get shadows below our eyes while men add a shadow of facial hair. We forget that a hiding shadow slowly returns with the rising sun of a new day. The long, lumbering shadow is now ready to leap into a new day.
The shadows on the beach are longer now than when I started. People will soon gather here to watch the sunset – a time when shadows begin fading away. But now is the time for me and my shadow to return inside. But I will return tomorrow because I like walking on the beach, which is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
See what other bloggers have posted about shadows
- The Shadow Man (poem by a visitor here)
- Botanic Shadows (photos by a collaborator here)
- Shadows (poem by a visitor here & numerous links in the comments)
- Light, Shadow, and Geometry (photos)
- Shadows (poem)
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