We have a deck of Shadow cards. My son and I pull them out from time to time as writing prompts. You randomly pick a card with a picture and a different, larger card with a word. You put them together and see what organically comes. I pulled the word "Shadow" and a card with a picture of what I interpreted as a desert. I immediately mentally transported into the hot, dry land. In the blaze of the afternoon heat. Under the brightness of the blinding sun. Where, in my mind's eye, I searched for the shadow.
Either from a lone cactus, or the sun cascading off the rock formations at just the right time, at just the right angle in the distance. Reflecting a shadow on the much needed deserted earth. The cracked dirt. The parched sand. A break for the scorching heat. A temporary cool place to rest amid the dangers that lurk within the wide open spaces. Behind every rock, slithering within every bush. The hawk that circles overhead, the stones the snakes blend into and against, the scorpion poised behind the pebble. The skilled coyote, sneaky, unseen on the prowl.
The shadow representing a darkness only seen by the bright shine of the unforgiving sun. A critical, crucial place the sun does not shine. For a moment, a place the sun cannot reach. In a place where most things cannot grow. A place that seems cold, dark, while also a shelter. A sacred ground. A rarity to it's opposing light. A break from the norm. A comparison only felt because of the heat. A relief only realized because I have experienced the burn.
I am not afraid of the shadow. Not of the darkness. I am not afraid of the fear it feeds. Of the relief it brings. Of what exists there that I may not be able to see. I may not be able to anticipate. Or of the comfort it welcomes.
It is because of the shadow that I admire the sun once again. It is the chance to see things in a different light. With a different emotion, with a different view. Noticing things I might not have gotten to see in the light of day. In the blinding brightness. Where it is difficult to focus. Difficult to look with eyes wide open. The light jarring my sight. Effecting my vision as much as the darkness.
It is the shadow that teaches me I need both light and dark to see. To be able to notice the rest of the world. To give me a break from the heat that consumes me. The blistering heat that so few can survive in. The sun that burns when you get to much. That causes sweat, thirst, desperation.
I see it is the shadow that allows rest, a break, a relief. I see that it is a necessity to life. It is a must. Knowing the sun would kill me without the chance for shade.
I admire those that can withstand the desert and all the dangers it brings.
I also admire those who take solace in the shade for a time now and then. Seeing it's importance to continue life. To see things from a different lens. A different angle. To expose the beauty of the sun. Of the clear blue skies. To feel the warmth of the heat.
It is the shadow that brings me life. It is the shadow that exposes all that I could not otherwise see. It is the shadow that is a crucial part of me.