Thursday, April 21, 2016

Shadow Casting

by Cathy

The sun has been hiding behind the clouds for the last several days. From morning till night it’s overcast and somewhat gloomy. I miss the sun. I do love a rainy day now and then, but I need the sunshine. Being under cloudy skies has me dreaming about bright sunshiny days and that leads me to thinking about shadows.

I’ve had shadows on my mind for another reason, too. I belong to a group led by Kim Manley Ort that is reading a book in which each chapter is the author's definition of a common word. We read the chapter, think about what the word means to us, and then take a picture to illustrate the word. Our word this week is shadows

One of the things I like to do after reading the chapter is to look up the word in the dictionary and see if there is a different definition other than the common one. When I looked up the word shadows I was surprised at how many meanings there were and how many ways it can be used.

There’s the common meaning which according to my Merriam Webster Dictionary is a “partial darkness or obscurity within a part of space from which rays from a source of light are cut off by an interposed opaque body.” Shadows are inevitable. If you have the smallest amount of light and something blocks it, there will be a shadow.

Shadows fascinate me. They appear calm and peaceful. They are quiet. They make not a sound as they fall across something. A shadow can be the perfect shape of an object or it can be a slight suggestion of the original object, just a trace or hint of what is blocking the light.

I love to find patterns in shadows, pull in close with my camera, and create an abstract that has to be studied to know what is real, what is shadow, and what in the world is it anyway!!

Of course we cast our own shadow when we stand out in the sun, but there is also a different kind of shadow we cast; the shadow we cast on others. The definition that touched me the deepest was “persuasive and dominant influence.” The shadow that is a pattern of who we are can fall on those around us and influence them positively or negatively. I have a responsibility to cast the right kind of shadow that will be a positive influence on others.

I asked myself these questions:

What is the effect of my presence on other people?
Do I cast a strong shadow?
Do I cast a shadow of inspiration, gladness, and hope?

Am I ready to offer encouraging words?
Do I have a face of cheer?

I never want to cast a shadow that is depressing and disheartening. I want the shadow that I cast to be cast with love.

This blog at Focusing On Life casts its own shadow on each writer and each reader. I haven’t been contributing here very long, but I have been a reader since the first post. The shadow that Focusing On Life has cast on me has been one of encouragement and inspiration; of love and support. Knowing those that contribute here, I know that will never change. We are so grateful for each of you whether you faithfully read our words or drop by now and then. We want to inspire you, to encourage you, to make you smile, and to give you hope. We want our shadow to be cast with love.

"Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our own souls, our influence is determined by the quality of our being." - Dale Turner


Dotti said...

What beautiful thoughts! I love the idea that we each cast a shadow on others and that this shadow can be a source of love or not. This gives us each a broad mantle of responsibility to one another as well as ourselves. But what I love most were your words about FOL. We do indeed want to love, inspire, encourage and support one another as well as to share the joy and the beauty and the laughter that is to be found in our lives. We cast a wide shadow and all are welcome to sit under it for a spell and refresh their hearts and minds. Thank you, Cathy!

Anonymous said...

These shadow shots are stunning! Cathy, you cast one of the most beautiful "shadows" I know. Everything you post, on your own blog and now here, lifts me up and brings a smile or provokes me to think more deeply about something. Even though we've never met in person, I'm so glad I know you!

terriporter said...

I always look forward to the days you post because I know it will be a treat for the eyes as well as the heart. Your photos, as always, are beautiful! But as Dotti said, you have perfectly put into words the FOL philosophy of inspiration, encouragement and support. You may have been here a short time but you are a perfect fit and you are casting a beautiful shadow!

Deanna said...

Thank you Judy, for such an inspiring post. You are such a genuine person both in your writings as well as your beautiful images.

Deanna said...

Oh so sorry I said Judy when I certainly meant Cathy...old woman syndrome.

Carol said...

You cast only the best kind of shadow -always, and these pictures are (almost) as beautiful as you are!

Irina Kolosovskaya said...

As a reader I do agree that FOL casts its own shadow, and this is the shadow of creativity, inspiraton and love. thank you for this wonderful article with beautiful images, Cathy!

Sarah Huizenga said...

I love your shadow photos, especially the dotty leaf one.

kelly said...

Such a beautiful, inspiration post Cathy. You do really always have a way of getting to the heart of the matter. Which is the genesis for all beautiful photography. Thank you for sharing the light and the shadow.

JUDITH said...

Your pictures are beautiful and your journaling very thought provoking.

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