Around four o'clock each afternoon I find Buddha settled onto the spine of the sofa pondering bird shadows against the drawn drapes. He began keeping vigil when the afternoons became so hot I started closing the drapes in an effort to keep some of the heat out of the living area. Confusion fills his dilated eyes and his feline brain as he watches varying degrees of darkness flit across the sun-drenched windows. And then a lunge, a futile effort to capture the elusive bird he is so sure is there, almost like a birder with a life list.
I am finding that as the years pass I too try to capture shadows, only mine are from the past; the dreams that didn't quite come true, the places I never ended up going to see and the memories of pleasant times I want to experience again. I don't find these "shadows" to be sad, more like an interesting vision to explore and rework, to learn from and perhaps cast anew.
There is beauty in shadows as well as occasional confusion and complexity. The trick is to decipher them, learn to see through them, realize they are transparent , just a thin veil of softness, not an opague mass. When learning to paint shadows you begin to see the surrounding colors being reflected like a memory, not good or bad, just another way of looking at things. Maybe shadows are a call for us to wake up and push through the gossamer; see what's really there in all its clarity, maybe begin to live a true life. Might it be time to reshape and cast some new shadows to fit who we are today instead of chasing what we used to be?
But for now, there is too much heat and humidity to go out sketching the interplay of light in the marshes and on the beach. So I'll just hide out in the coolness of the shadows with Buddha.
"How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also if I am to be whole." C.G. Jung