We went out for a short snowshoe hike today in pristine snow left by the early February snowpocalypse. Not many people had ventured out onto the open space yet, so the unsullied snow begged for attention. Ruby ran ahead, bounding through drifts that sometimes left nothing but her head and shoulders exposed. Her palpable joy told me that this is what her heaven will look like. The sun was beginning to sink behind the foothills as we headed back to the house, so our shadows stretched out before us. I captured this self portrait, a girl and her dog.
I find peace in my shadow. It can raise me in stature or knock me down to size, but it consistently offers a stripped-down representation of my most basic form. In my shadow there is no room for vanity or insecurity about my appearance. It’s so simple, quiet, and soft, so unwilling to accept self-criticism or condemnation. My shadow doesn’t care how old I am. It doesn’t record my wrinkles or count my grey hairs. It doesn’t care if my clothes don’t match or my mascara is smeary. A shadow simply represents my true self, the evanescent spirit that resides within this physical house. It tells me that who I truly am has nothing to do with the way I appear. I am boundless and free. My shadow knows that I’m so much bigger than my body gives me credit for, and that’s why in the late afternoon it gives me room to be eight feet tall.**
(**Apologies to John Mayer for stealing his line.)