Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beautiful Shadows

On a recent hike with a dear friend, I took these pictures on the very top of Brins Mesa, a high point in the area around Sedona. On reviewing the pictures, I noticed two kinds of shadows: one cast by a tree, and the other one might call "shadows of light" or maybe angels?
If you believe in angels, and believe they might even occasionally show up in some sort of visible fashion, you might see those shapes of light in the picture on the left that way. If you tend to have a skeptical mind, and don't believe it is possible to see angels, even if they do exist (ha!) then of course, other explanations suggest themselves. Its all a matter of perception.
I am reminded of Plato's idea that all we see in nature around us is the "shadow" of a Beauty, of Divine Ideas far more Real in a realm far more Real than ours. C.S. Lewis plays with this idea in his classic "The Great Divorce," in case you care to check it out.
I tried to imagine, as I pondered all this, what nature would look like without shadows, and the play of shadows and light. In my mind's eye, the lack of shadows would result in a far more flat, bleached-out look. I wouldn't care for that at all. So it seems shadows have a part to play in the beauty of the world around us.
Maybe the shadows of sorrow, of pain, of frustration, and the like, also have a part to play in the landscape of our lives, and their inter-play with the ever present Light of the Divine Presence of Beauty and Love add a certain quality to our experience which is to be treasured.
It is true that sometimes the shadows in our lives are dark indeed, and seem to dominate the landscape. Yet, simultaneously, if we but have the eyes to see, there are those angel-shadows of the One Light that surrounds us wherever we go, another dimension which is always there.
As long as we do not lose sight of the Light of that sacred dimension, the darkest shadows will not overwhelm us. We will come to see them as part of the Beauty of the life with which we are blessed, always.