Shadows

Shadows are one thing that, no matter how hard we try, we will never catch. I love the movies where a person’s shadow separates from the person and does its thing because it shows the dual sides. Most of us are multi-dimensional. We have various sides to us based on our mood swings.  

My cat is a hoot. If there is a shadow, that cat has to try to catch it because it moves. If a flashlight shines in the house, she thinks it’s a shadow that she must capture to protect her domain. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think she was on a racetrack trying to outrun everything and everyone else.  

It’s because of her behavior that my curiosity asked questions. How in the world are shadows formed?  Shadows block light. Light rays travel from a source in straight lines. If an opaque (solid) object gets in the way, it stops light rays from traveling through it. This action results in an area of darkness appearing behind the object it encompasses. But what about the shadows that we all live with of growing up in one’s shadow? 

When legacies are left behind, there is an unspoken expectation for a part of a lineage. Families with businesses built through generations contend with this issue. As the younger generations test their wings, they don’t share their legacies’ interests. There are expectations from older generations to pass the torch, and when that isn’t possible, those businesses sell or close.  

If you have ever watched Fiddler on the Roof, you will discover that the father in the story has to come to grips with the changes. He lives by tradition, and his children are forcing him to confront change.  

Children and grandchildren of people who accomplished much in their lifetime have an unspoken expectation. The stories of their ancestor’s shadows become stuck like glue in their minds. While success is not a competition, there is a sense that if the younger generations let their ancestors down, then they are a failure.  

There is nothing wrong with forging your identity separate from those who came before you. I hate to break it to folks, but shadows will follow all of us until we die. Our perception is something that is molded by what we believe. Times are not the same as they were a hundred years ago. Values have shifted. I fight for land preservation and understand that developers loathe my mentality. My ancestors worked the land, and I strive to ensure that land remains useable for years to come. I don’t wish to see houses clustered with activity land on its premises. I guess you could say my ancestors’ shadow haunts me to fight for the environment. 

There are those we shadow we consider mentors. They are the folks we wish to emulate. Their skills are sharper than ours. We learn by watching and allowing teachable moments. When we are under their supervision, they are our shadows of the past, present, and future.   

No matter what type of shadow you deal with, I hope you remember shadows themselves are a reflection of a spec in time. They are only a reflection of what we see and not what is truly there. In many ways, shadows can show us how big or small we are, depending on where those shadows fall. The next time you see your shadow, remember you don’t have to retreat like the groundhog. Instead, use your shade to remind you of the essential things in life. As long as you continue to believe in yourself and are kind to others, your shadow will continue to change shape in your life and will help create a legacy for others that you will leave behind. Have a great weekend, everyone.  

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