Saturday, July 4, 2009


Shadows have a somewhat checkered reputation in the human imagination. Think phrases like a "shadowy figure" or a "dark, shadowy corner" to suggest danger, threat, and general creepiness.

But shadows aren't all bad! Carl Jung was clear about that--that our "shadow" psychologically speaking consists of our unclaimed gifts, talents, and capacity for greatness every bit as much as our unwanted "bad traits," such as anger or narrow-mindedness or stinginess. We project both aspects of our "shadows" onto others if we're not careful and attentive to ourselves--the former onto heroes, public servants, "saints" and other figures whom we deem to be "extra good" (sometimes teachers, clergy, even celebrities!).

The latter we project onto those we identify as "bad guys" of whatever stripe fits the bill, including some of the same categories of people who receive our "positive shadows"! Psychological health and wisdom require us to wake up and withdraw our projections from others to be who we are, responsibly using our gifts and our greatness, while "owning," accepting, and managing our less admirable traits. (Easier said than done, but important nonetheless!)

But I didn't start this post to get into psychology. I was actually aiming to celebrate real shadows!

Yesterday after at least six very rainy days in a row, and many more in previous weeks, the sky brightened while I was out walking Digory. Even before the sun had broken through the fog and clouds, the sky grew bright enough to project very faint shadows. I was ecstatic!

Right now, at 1 pm on July 4, the sun is really and truly and fully shining, and the shadows are distinct and clean-edged and delightful!

Today I am grateful for shadows!


beachwalker said...

Hey Sukie,
Nice piece... makes me think about the opening of Psalm 91. There was a time when folks really understood the CLOUD poetics! Enjoy the shadows!

Sarah said...

I'm so glad you *did* talk about psychology! Thanks and happy shadows (and sun) to you on this
with love from Sarah who is sitting in the airport listening to Christine...on the way across the pond (almost)

Sukie Curtis said...

Thanks, Gordon! I had to go look at Psalm 91 as I wasn't remembering clouds...aha! there's that shadow! Another slant on it. Shadow as sheltering refuge.

And thanks, Sarah, too! Love thinking of you listening to Christine while waiting to wing your way to Amsterdam.