shadows and silhouettes

To them I may have owed another gift,

Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood

In which the burthen of the mystery,

In which the heavy and the weary weight

Of all this unitelligible world,

Is lightened: -that serene and blessed mood,

In which the affections gently lead us on,-

Until, the breath of this corporeal frame

And even the motion of our human blood

Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

In body, becoming a living soul:

While with an eye made quiet by the power

Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,

We see into the life of things.

-Wordsworth. Lines.

She was scared of the dark as a small child. She was afraid of the dark shadows that lurked behind her linen curtains at night. Her imagination was vivid, genius to be precise. And in the crevices and corners of her mind, the shadows still stood.

She was a lively yet sensitive child. She was vibrant and visual. By day her visions were splendid realities. She played with the children in the trees and imagined she really did live in the Hundred Acre Woods. She climbed the trees to see Moonface, all the while imagining herself as Silky with long golden hair.

As she grew, her visions became more real. Yet the shadows and silhouettes grew all the more. She had to stop herself from watching those movies late at night. She skipped the deathly pages in the novels she read, just as she’d skipped the chapter about the goblins in the Folk of the Faraway Tree.

She lived her life with a certain double exposure; seeing undertones and overtones throughout nature, as Amichai would explain. Everything had worth, everything had meaning. Everything impacted and touched upon everything. She looked up to the clouds amidst the storms and searched for the light. But sometimes it was not to be found.

It was then that she learnt she had to start drawing the lines. And she carefully carved the shadows into the corners. She drew a bold line to separate image and reality; to separate fiction and form.

All the lines began to form a cube, into which she was trapped. She escaped the box in many faces, but none of them revealed her true self. She spoke truth, but it came out as falsities, two-dimensional portraits that did not match up. She felt trapped as a dancer inside a mirrored room. Spinning pirouettes, shadowed by silhouettes that fell on the ground either way the light came.

She stood suspended in space in her soul but grounded by gravity in her physical world.

Until she saw it another way.

The anaesthetic fog which she called ‘the real world’ faded away. She was made undone by the present moment on which she stood, a place in space and time when living and imagining came into line. The overwhelming presence of one single moment was a palpable epiphany. The shadow was still if she let Time stand and hold it there. And the shadow would not move. The shadow would only move depending on the light, and if she looked at the light, she would know which way it were going. She could predict the shadows; where they would be and where they would come and go and stand.

She couldn’t change the shadows, she couldn’t dismiss them completely. But she could recognise them and draw them out in lines that she could see. New lines were drawn, and old were abandoned .The inner and outer were once more intertwined. Her shadows were pulled from the closet of her consciousness and hung out to dry in the ever-moving glow of the light.


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  1. Pingback: Decisions | Girl on a swing

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