The Long Shadow

It was late in the day; I was three years old. I saw my shadow ahead of me, so long, and it went past where my mother was walking. That shadow, so long and tall compared to my mother’s 5’9″ frame, made a deep impression on my psyche. With a start I realized it looked like I was taller than my mother, but that didn’t make me happy. Instead it shocked me.

A preschool aged girl, walking.
Dismayed, I reasoned that couldn’t be. Mom had always been tall. I had always been small. How could my shadow surpass my mother?

All was a chimera – a mirage. And perhaps that is true still, all these years later. Maybe I still think that just because my shadow was long I’m surpassing her. But I never looked at her shadow to see if it compared favorably to mine. Perhaps I’m short sighted, even after all these years.

I’m definitely nearsighted. Could that be a symbol of my capacity to learn from this world? Beside the visual, I’ve always been introverted and shy, reticent to communicate with others. I’m so into myself.

My interests are close to home and based on my perceptions. I seem to lack a capacity to see far-reaching events, to analyze life from the scientific, academic, impersonal viewpoint. Without inserting human awareness into the picture, my eyes start to mist over. Give me a good story — not an algebraic equation!

My early childhood was a blur of sister Susan, neighborhood friends, mother, father, relatives, and a few older neighbors who became friends of my parents. I had no need to look beyond this environment.