They’re a funny lot, shadows are.
Always there with us, even when we forget about them.
As a kid, I liked my shadow.
When I was little, on a sunny day I’d often find myself trying to outrun it. I’d jump side to side, take off at a sprint, or try and spin around really fast.
I’d watch it mimic my movements, and I liked how it reflected me.
My shadow was always there, and I liked it that way.
But, as I grew up, I stopped paying attention to my shadow.
In fact, I forgot all about it.
Until one, not so specific day, my shadow started to grow.
It grew and it grew until, eventually, it outgrew me.
It was always there, and I hated it.
I could jump side to side, take off at a sprint, or spin around really fast, but there was no escape.
I tried to run from it.
But no matter how hard I ran, I couldn’t outrun my shadow.
All I could do was mimic its movements.
All I did was reflect it.
And then, one very specific morning, I woke up before runrise for a long slow jog.
Running in the dark, I knew my shadow was there, but I couldn’t see it.
I liked it that way.
But soon the sun rose, and my shadow started to grow ahead of me.
At first, it was just a blob of dark grey at my feet.
But then, it got bigger and bigger until, eventually, it was huge.
It just hovered in front of me.
Suddenly, I realized it would always be there.
Because, like it or hate it, my shadow was part of me.
I thought about stopping, and I thought about giving up the jog.
I thought, maybe, I should just quit altogether.
It was then that I came to a bend in the road, so I slowly turned around to head home.
And, as I did, a peculiar thing happened.
When I turned, so did my shadow. I watched it move around me until, finally, I couldn’t see it anymore.
Sun on my face and a clear path ahead of me, I thought about stopping, and I thought about giving up the jog.
But then I thought, maybe, I wasn’t ready to quit.
I glanced back.
My shadow was still there.
But it was behind me.
It was behind me because I’d put it there.
Suddenly, I realized I was the one in control.
Now, nearly every morning, I wake up before runrise and watch my little corner of the world change from dark to light.
As I run, my shadow grows ahead of me.
But I don’t mind that it’s there.
And I don’t ever want to forget that it is.
Now, when it grows too big, I know that it’s time for me to make that turn and run towards the sun.
Because, now, I know that I’m the one in control of our direction.
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