Shadows

FL 037

 

Shadows can be fun, mysterious, frightful, intentional, random, and even boring. Regardless of how they are viewed and make us feel, they can all be explained by a law of physics: light is interrupted by an opaque or semi-opaque object and darkness is created in the form of the object on the opposite side of the illuminated object.

The shape and degree of darkness are controlled by several factors: light intensity, angle of the light source illuminating the object, movement of the object or light source, opaqueness of the object being illuminated, location of the viewer with respect to the object, the terrain upon which the shadow falls, and the distance of the shadow.

In the case of this lengthy shadow, I was atop the lighthouse with a clear view of the shadow being cast. The sun was bright and at an angle as it was afternoon. The lighthouse was opaque, except for the glass windows which reveal the light fixture. Although the type of surface which accepted the shadow changes from land to water, both are relatively level and flat. Hence, the shadow is directly in-line with the lighthouse.

However, aside from a scientific explanation there is something else about shadows-perhaps something almost sinister. Our imaginations can run wild so-to-speak when we allow the shadow to come ‘alive’ in our minds. We ‘feel’ its presence which can send chills up our back and make us look over our shoulder repeatedly. Yet, logically, we know shadows are not alive, but they are attached to the object casting it via invisible cords. Those cords which lead us to the objects are what we really fear-the shadows only confirm their existence.

There are more to shadows than meets the eyes. It is what they reveal which makes them so special..so ethereal. Not only do they reveal a hint of the object casting the shadow, they often expose something deep inside of us which is only triggered by the faded image. When I gaze upon this scene I am reminded of warmth, relaxation and discovery-all very pleasant feelings. Fortunately, I viewed this shadow in bright circumstances and there was no negativity attached to it or the lighthouse. That is not always the case.

I recall a memory of shadows which affected me unexpectedly. Many years ago I hiked to the top of a 12,000 foot mountain in the Rockies of Colorado. The day was sunny and the weather pleasant. After a while I noticed dark, swiftly moving shadows rolling across the rocky terrain. Clouds, and then more clouds. Fast and then faster they came. With the sun blazing above them they cast menacing looking images onto the mountain top. I recall vividly how I suddenly felt so very small and insignificant in comparison to the grandeur of nature’s power. The majesty of the mountains coupled with a storm fast approaching made me very aware that had I stayed on top of that mountain when the full force of the storm passed over, I would not have returned from whence I started. I was amazed that all it took were shadows to evoke these thoughts and feelings.

With a slight chuckle I think of the movies with sinister plots and shadows which scare those acting as well as those viewing.  Feelings of fearfulness and harm cause the heart to race-all because of shadows. Or, is it the shadows? Perhaps deeper reasons exist.

Reflections in Blue

5-26-15 024 Have you ever noticed how vividly light reflects off of tinted glass, and even clear-coat painted metallic surfaces? Like watching a movie, I gazed at the clouds which strolled by the side windows of my Jeep. They skirted by without even a whisper…only a moving reminder that they existed…for only a short while before fading out of sight. In between the clouds the sun shone in all her brilliance. It was she who illuminated the clouds in the first place. And, it was she who made the reflection possible. No light, no radiance, no reflection.

Remember the line in the fairy tale, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”. As I recall, the answer wasn’t too favorable for the wicked queen so she cast a spell on Snow White who was considered the fairest.

The queen had a problem which is common among many. She was so self-absorbed that she radiated her disdain for others (in this case Snow White). Her reflection revealed a narcissistic image and the mirror couldn’t lie. How often do we see this dynamic played out in our everyday world? People pretending to be one thing, but eventually they reveal through words and actions what’s really inside them. Rather than radiating light, darkness fills the void. In today’s world of ‘make believe’ where most anything printed or filmed can be (and usually is) manipulated to what the creator wants the subject to look like, we are presented a poor reflection of the truth. Sorry to be sardonic with my opinion, but this is what I often see. This is also a generalization of our culture and not a condemnation of any particular person, although I can think of a few who may fit this description.

This got me to thinking about radiance and reflections in general. More specifically, I looked in the mirror and asked myself what I radiate, if anything. Do I have a light within me which radiates outwardly or is there too much darkness that obscures the light? Can others see what I don’t? Or, is there anything to be seen? Is my self-image based on reality or wanna be? As with my vehicle’s color; since it is blue, it better reflect blue or something is wrong.

I realize I have flaws, more than I want others to know about. And, I can hide things as well as anyone, except from the One who knows me better than I know myself. With this admission I can also state that it is my supreme desire to radiate light and reflect that which I know to be true. As I stumble in my daily attempts to live out this goal, I need all of the grace I can acquire. So, before you throw a rock at me for this post, I adjure you to look in the mirror, too. If you don’t like what you see, you can throw the rock at the glass or put it down and be honest with yourself. Then, extend yourself some grace before asking for help to change. The clouds will eventually part and the light will shine once again. There are plenty of souls who have cracked mirrors, and continue to radiate beautiful light. I want to be one of them.