The Nature of a Shadow
The nature of a shadow is said to be nothing.
It is, in fact, a phenomenon of whose
“substance” is obstructed light. Consider.
If shadows are visible, they must perforce
be something, for, as anyone of sound mind
knows, a thing invisible cannot be seen.
Then, too, a shadow has extension –
length and width but no height – two properties
not possible if a shadow is nothing.
Stranger still, a shadow is engendered
by something other than itself,
something substantial, solid, material,
an ontological impossibility, you will insist,
since nothing can be born of nothing.
Thus proof that a shadow is something!
Genetics and heredity demand
like for like, yet a shadow has none of its
progenitor’s traits except one – shape –
but even that is subject to change
and distortion, depending on the time
of day and availability of light.
Then, too, a shadow’s life can be short or long,
and like a faithful dog, it always returns
to its home as does light at day’s end.
On cloudy days, however, shadows prefer
to stay indoors and are rarely seen at night –
unless enticed by artificial light.
Early risers, they also retire early
following a very old and wise human saying.
Are shadows, then, healthy nothings?
Shadows are also generous benefactors,
though rarely thought of as such, freely
offering shade to any who seek them.
At one time they even marked off time
by prostrating themselves on sundials
and with some accuracy.
Finally, a shadow is often viewed
in a morbid light, and has become associated,
sadly, with death, the departed called
“shades” by ancient minds and believed
gathered in earth’s depths to a shadowy
afterlife abode of blessings or punishments
depending on the writer’s theology,
sense of justice, vindictiveness, perversity,
superstition or just plain ignorance.
Copyright © Maurice Rigoler | Year Posted 2021
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