Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunshine and Shadows

Sunshine and Shadows 

 My dogs and I had trekked through the deep snow several days ago.  This time, we had gone into the forest where no snowmobilers had been.  Yet, someone had been here before us.  Yes indeed.  The deer had been this way and had their trails crisscrossing all through the forest.  It was hard work following their trails, because they didn’t care if the snow was deep or not, apparently they don’t mind deep snow.  They just chugged on through it.  But me… a different story.  Each step required a lot of exertion as I sunk down almost to the ground.  I was desperate for exercise, so don’t laugh at me! 

So, we had slogged and trogged (is that a word?) through the forest making our own paths.   Can I say again… it was somewhat exertional! Ha.  My German Shepherd/Siberian Husky mix puppy bounded and leaped and dashed everywhere.  I wish I could scoop up some of her energy.  My poor little Cosmo stayed behind me, close on my heels. He waited for me to make the tracks, and walked in my footsteps.  Poor thing. His nose was barely visible above the snow.  He had to arch his neck just to keep breathing.  But he never gave up.  He trekked and trogged and slogged right along with us.  (My dictionary is letting me know that trogged is not a word… oh well…).  

So anyway, into the woods we went.  Step by laborious step.  Oh, but it was a glorious day.  It was an absolutely amazing day.  The snow was glistening and sparkling and the trees were waving their lacy white branches, and snow was drifting from the branches to the ground, creating this snowy mist in the woods.  It was a radiant resplendent sight fit for royalty.  

 I was thrilled to be a part of such a thing…. even if I did feel like my heart was going to jump out of my chest with every step…. Ha.

 So… as we tramped through the snow, we reached the back end of our property that overlooks a large meadow.  The sun was casting its radiant abundance in such glittering elegance that even the dogs stopped their endless sniffing and smelling to stop and wonder.  Well… maybe just for a second.  They always have such an important job to do out here in the woods, that they are on overdrive to get it done.  But, when I stopped and just wondered… they stopped with me, ears up, noses on high alert… just in case I had seen something they didn’t… so yes, I think they were beholding with me the wonder of the moment… but it didn’t last long.  Apparently a bunny rabbit had wandered this way earlier, and that was a far more urgent calling… than just … being amazed as I was!  

As we made our way back through the forest, and slodged (I wish the dictionary liked my choices of words better, so frustrating when my chosen words aren’t understood!) through all the deer trails, my legs began to scream at me.  Not quite audibly, but loud enough to where I had to listen.  So I just fell over in the snow to take a break.  I looked for a stump or something to sit on, but alas…. There wasn’t even a fallen log close by for me to rest.  So I just did what comes natural to me when my legs give out… I just fall over. It was quite graceful I tell ya. Wish you could’ve been there.  I felt like a ballerina on a dance floor….

So I laid there in the snow and although the dogs had been quite busy in all their pressing investigations, when they heard me fall, I was immediately top priority.  I soon wished I hadn’t fallen.  Wished I had found a stump or a fallen log.  Because those two dogs weigh a lot.  They jumped on me, licking me, and covering me with their love and compassion… bless their hearts.  I was quite overwhelmed to be sure. 

So, no rest for the weary. I had to get up or be smothered by their love and affection for me.  I grunted and groaned and grasped every bit of energy I possessed to get myself up off the ground.  Annie, the German Shepherd, thought she could help me, and put her paw on my shoulder thinking it would help. She caught me off balance, and I toppled over again. 

I wondered if I would just have to stay here forever. I mean the dogs just thought this was a game. I’d try to get up and they’d pounce on me, licking and covering me with their love, until I thought I might pass out from it all.  I might just freeze to death out here. No one would ever know. How am I ever going to get up again?

Then a really brilliant thought occurred to me (these things don’t happen to me quite often, as I’m sure you must realize by now…  but it was very timely indeed) … so I hollered out “rabbit” and pointed off in another direction… the dogs twitched their ears, and off they went to seek out yonder rabbit. Whew.  I gathered myself and stood up, brushing all the snow off of me.  I felt like the abominable snowman.  I probably looked like him too…

The dogs returned from their fruitless chase of that rabbit, and happily we continued on down the trail.   When we arrived back at the house, I was panting with the dogs.

I made it to a huge snow bank in our yard.. and collapsed.  It took a while for the air to be able to move freely again through my lungs.  Annie climbed up on the bank beside me to stand guard while I rested.  As we sat there with the sun at our backs, I looked in amazement at the beautiful shadows that she and I were creating.  I couldn’t help but take some pictures of the silhouettes the two of us made as we sat there just soaking in and enjoying the beauty of the day.   

I was struck with the thought as we sat there together how much sunlight and shadows work together. Without the sun, there could be no shadows.  The sun in all its beauty and radiance cannot reach all places at all times, and so shadows jump to the occasion, and bravely create their obligation in silent stillness.  Shadows never seek the limelight, but always cast their glow when the sunlight becomes hidden from view.   

And so, I mused, it is in our lives.  We love the sunshine, absolutely adore its magnificence in our lives. Without the sun we could not enjoy the things of life that we do every day.  Yet, there are shadows that are cast too… and we cannot do without the shadows of our lives, that create a beautiful silhouette of brilliance.  We enjoy the sunlight, and perhaps never want the shadows in our lives, but yet…. Sunlight and shadows do co-exist.  You can’t have one without the other.  And one can’t be enjoyed without the other. 

We need both sun and shadows in our lives to balance our world.  For if we only had sunshine, and never had a time of rest in the presence of shadows from the heat of the sun, we would shrivel up and die.  If we only spent our time in the presence of the sun, we would surely perish from the everlasting heat.  So, we must have the shadows, the times in our life where the outlines are fuzzy, and the details are not clear.  We must spend time in the shadows to allow growth in our lives, and when it is time again, the shadows will flee, and we will dwell once again in the sunshine.

I’m thankful for the beautiful lesson I learned today about the shadows that Annie and I made.  If I’m going to be in the shadows, why not enjoy the moment, and glean from it every bit of wisdom and truth possible.  I rested in the shadow we made.  It strengthened me and gave me the stamina I needed to rise, and again move into the sunshine.

May it be for you today too.  

May you find healing and rest in the shadows of your life until the time when the sun decides to shine again! 

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