In Praise of Shadows…

in praise of shadows

“…find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of shadows,
the light and dark which that thing provides.”
Junichiro Tanizaki

Today, I am sharing my shadows…

It is the Easter break… boys are home; I am full of cold (3 days in – mine only usually last just 24 hours) and feeling lethargic. I am not very good at being ill. Things catch up with me and get on top when energy is lacking. It is rare that I share the shadow side in my posts, but today, there was no hiding. When the neighbour knocked on the door at 9am asking us to keep an eye on the house as a bike had been stolen from their shed overnight, I was still in my pyjamas, heavy bags under my eyes.

In the park, a big boy was bullying a younger friend of my son; physical stuff. I stepped in; out of my comfort zone, but we do what needs to be done.

Up on the hill, there was much laughter as our flimsy little Batman kite flew and fell, flew and fell, crashing into the grass time after time, much to small boy’s amusement. He fell down himself, with laughter, several times… and then we watched rain, fast approaching, falling in the distance, coming closer, then passing, just as I used to watch it over on the other side of the estuary from the house we used to stay in on family holidays in Wales when I was a child.

“Where there is light, there must be shadow, where there is shadow there must be light.
There is no shadow without light and no light without shadow….”
Haruki Murakami

Last time a big, dark shadow came, it was overwhelming… it engulfed me for a couple of days and it was not until a day or so later that I realised it was part of a pattern. Yes, at my age I really should not know this monthly pattern, but still, it can catch me unawares. Sometimes darkness comes, unannounced and for no reason the shadow descends. The bigger picture pattern is there… we have light and joyful days and we have dark, shadow days; even weeks… and it is the fierce warrior heart that finds the beauty in the darkness… in the light, in the shadows and their patterns.

This week, the wall at the bottom of my street was painted a dark shade of grey and today, I could not walk on by without capturing the tree in a photograph… not the thing itself, but the pattern of the shadows.

And at home, on the wall behind me, between picture ledge and couch; same again… different tree (pruned today) and me in the late afternoon sunlight.

Today, I write in praise of shadows. I am grateful for their patterns and for the light without which they would not be there for us to notice.

shadows on the wall


  1. says

    Julia, the way you see beauty in the smallest detail is wonderful. I can’t say I pay much attention to shadows. But you’ve turned them into art.

    By the way, this website of yours looks stunning! I’m blown away. For the second time today (it’s a bit windy out there, in case you hadn’t noticed). xx

    • Julia Elmore says

      Richard, thank you SO much. It is the smallest details that bring me the biggest joy and nature offers these gifts for free on a daily basis… I cannot help but notice and feel compelled to share.

      I am so glad you like the new site. It is a work in progress, but already proving to be a place I feel happy to hang out. See you here again soon, I hope. x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *