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Out of the Shadows

In our part of Texas, we aren’t bothered by shadows from mountains. In all my 78 years, no one ever told me that mountain shadows were something to plan your time around either.

Obviously, it takes three elements to create a shadow: a source of light, something it shines on and something that gets between that source of light and what it is shining on. Short of a total blackout, the shadow’s light is just darkened on the area where is falls.

On a picnic in the French Alps a few days ago, I learned that mountain shadows should seriously be considered. Some of my newfound French brethren and I hiked to a valley formed by snow covered peaks and lush assents of trees painted by the brush of autumn’s muse. We found a place by a small lake formed by a fluted mountain stream to spread a table of bread and cheeses and enhanced the elements of our communion with a tangy red wine of native source.

With laughter, words and joshing mingled with tongues of two nations we celebrated our discovery of unknown relativity and decided to settle our love feast with a walk around the mini lake thereby as if to delete the watery distance between our newfound spiritual closeness.

“We need to leave soon, or we will be in the shadow of the mountain,” came the warning.

There was a murmur of accent and everyone moved toward the baggage of our moveable feast’s residuals. Soon the site of our gastric gathering was clear of any evidence of the rich moments of koinonia and we were on our way back down the valley as the shadow of the mountain moved to dim the brightness over the table of our encounter.

“In the shadow it is much colder,” they said.

So it is with shadows, whether cast by a mountain or a Texas Live Oak, they diminish things. They diminish brightness. They diminish warmth. They diminish vision, not too much, but just enough to steal away the exhilaration of uninhibited fellowship and culminate a time of timelessness.

There are other kinds of shadows:

those that darken countenance; or blanket hope; or denounce prophecy.

Shadows fall on nations; some to lose all light and never rise again.

Shadows are to be enjoyed on a hot Texas day, and one can be thankful for the trees or mountains that spread them, but the one on the mountaintop never sees them.

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