Shadows by Richard Hartwell

February 21, 2013 Comments Off on Shadows by Richard Hartwell

Shadows are sneaky.  They don’t always let you in on their secrets, and they don’t always cooperate.  I know all of this because I have been teaching my grandson the Robert Louis Stevenson nursery rhyme I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me.

Te’Juan, the grandson, has caught on pretty well.  He loves to walk with his, our, shadow in front of us in the late afternoon.  It is so big then.  He jumps and then comes down hard, much as to say, “Gotcha!”  When we turn around to walk back to the house, he constantly checks behind himself to make certain his shadow is still there and has not wandered off and left him.  So far, he hasn’t been disappointed, at least about shadows.

There is a downside to all this though.  The other night, with no moon out and only a few stars visible, Te’Juan had no shadow.  This was not of tremendous concern, but I did watch him spin around in a couple of circles looking at the ground.  There was no companion there, but since grandpa was still nearby, he guessed things were all right still.  It’s nice to be appreciated, even subtly.  Perhaps Te’Juan was on to something when he turned around to find his shadow gone.  He’s not too young to realize that we spend half our lives alone, without a shadow, without a connection to the reality that is us, alone.

© 2012 Richard Hartwell

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school English teacher living in Moreno Valley, California, with his wife of thirty-six years (poor soul, her, not him), their disabled daughter, one of their sons and his ex-wife along with their two children, and eleven cats. Yes, eleven! He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large, and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing poetry, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.

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