Or I would be the rain itself, wreathing over the island, mingling in the quiet of moist places, filling its pores with its saturated breaths. And I would be the wind, whispering through the tangled woods, running airy fingers over the island’s face, tingling in the chill of concealed places, sighing secrets in the dawn. And I would be the light, flinging over the island, covering it with flash and shadow, shining on rocks and pools, softening to a touch in the glow of dusk. If I were the rain and wind and light, I would encircle the island like the sky surrounding earth, flood through it like a heart driven pulse, shine from inside it like a star in flames, burn away to blackness in the closed eyes of its night. There are so many ways I could love this island, if I were the rain.
Our shoes pin us to the world, like Peter Pan to his shadow. More than simply facilitating our movement out-of-doors, they mediate between the wearer and the ground. Perhaps it is less the world they pin us to, but our place in it; that shadow of society that follows wherever we go.
To my mind, faith is like being in the sun. When you are in the sun, can you avoid creating a shadow? Can you shake that area of darkness that clings to you, always shaped like you, as if constantly to remind you of yourself? You can’t. This shadow is doubt. And it goes wherever you go as long as you stay in the sun. And who wouldn’t want to be in the sun?
―Yann Martel, Beatrice and Virgil
I guess that sometimes it just takes a long walk through the darkness, a long walk through the darkest shadows and corners of your soul to realize that those are a part of you as well, that you’ve created through your experiences and thoughts those parts within yourself and as much as you can choose to fear them and repress them, they will require your attention one day, they will need your care and acceptance before you can clean them away and turn the lights on. For you refuse to shine the light on something that is imperfect, because you fear judgement and rejection, but you can always choose to look towards the light as the only source of true beauty and love that can help you in the cleaning process.
O night, O sweetest time, though black of hue,
with peace you force all the restless work to end;
those who exalt you see and understand,
and he is sound of mind who honours you.
You cut the thread of tired thoughts, for so
you offer calm in your moist shade; you send
to this low sphere the dreams where we ascend
up to the highest, where I long to go.
Shadow of death that brings to quiet close
all miseries that plague the heart and soul,
for those in pain the last and best of cures;
you heal the flesh of its infirmities,
dry and our tears and shut away our toil,
and free the good from wrath and fretting cares.
―Michelangelo, Complete Poems and Selected Letters
“I got a statistic for you right now. Grab your pencil, Doug. There are five billion trees in the world. I looked it up. Under every tree is a shadow, right? So, then, what makes night? I’ll tell you: shadows crawling out from under five billion trees! Think of it! Shadows running around in the air, muddying the waters you might say. If only we could figure a way to keep those darn five billion shadows under those trees, we could stay up half the night, Doug, because there’d be no night!”
Most attribute the domain of night to evil because they can’t see. People fear the shadows of the night because shadows represent the unknown, and the unknown is frightening. They assume evil lurks behind every shadow, in every corner not illuminated. But their fear of the unknown is often what really terrifies them. They find comfort seeing in the daylight for that reason, but the irony is they are often more blinded by their comfort than by the shadow of night. It’s a pity. If they could overcome their fear of the unknown they might realize that the unknown is not evil, it is simply an opportunity waiting to be explored. The night is no more a domain of evil than the daylight, both were created good, both have evil lurking in them. When you can overcome your fear, the night becomes a domain of beauty interlaced with danger, and that is exciting!