An object between a source of light and a ground will cast a shadow if the light source is bright enough-that’s the straight forward explanation for shadows and that’s the interpretation I take when I observe these dark images. I’m not unaware of the various significance others might attach to a fascination with shadows but I certainly find nothing threatening about them.
In the afternoon light yesterday, I admired the pattern of the leafless cottonwoods etched against the banks of the spawning channels behind One Mile Lake. As ever, my constant shadow dog stood beside me, equally enthralled it seemed ( over the years, he’s developed a sense of which images I will require him to pose for and assumes a contemplative look just in case.) I took photos of the trees and us and anything else that was big enough to pitch a penumbra.
My mind was not in the moment, however, simply calculating angles and light metering and breathing in and out. No, no, no-instead I tidied up some banking, considered items to pack for a trip, analyzed a recent conversation, attempted to recall the words to a poem called The Trap by Jon Stallworthy about a man wrestling with a shadow which eventually kills him.
Then I thought about Carl Jung and the idea that we all have a dark side to our natures with which we should come to terms in order to live in peace with ourselves.
Well, what about those trees, I wondered. Are the lines marching across the channel some projection of their essence beyond the fact that they stand between the bank and the sun? If so, I only felt gratitude at witnessing another aspect of their beauty and at sharing this world with other lives whose beings I can only guess at.