Jul 24

On a bright sunny cloudless day you expect to see your shadow. Just the one. It’s attached to you. We used to play shadow tiggy. If you’re it then you had to tag someone else by jumping on their shadow. It’s easy to twist and be your shadow to avoid being it.

At night you don’t have a shadow. Sometimes you may see one on a full moon if you happen to be late on a hike and you really want to get to the camping ground. You and your hiking buddy find yourselves strutting down a white sandy bush track with the moon behind you and a long shadow in front of you.

I live in the city, and when I walk home at night, I have lots of shadows. Tonight I noticed my shadows for the first time in years. Street lights line our streets, on main roads there’s lights on both sides. I have a shadow in front, one behind. As I walk the light behind me throws my shadow in front of me, as I walk further away from that light I get taller, well, the shadow does. It’s not long before I’m passing under the next street light and my shadow begins to grow again, the first one so long it stretches out of existence as it fades away.

The lights on the other side of the street cast a shadow to my right. These shadows also grow and shrink, and as I walk past fences and driveways they leap up or fall away.

As the traffic passes me multiple faint shadows quickly appear and disappear, so fleeting they’re barely noticed.

When I was a young lad, 45 years ago, I delivered newspapers in the morning. The Age and The Sun. I’d ride my bike around in the cold dark hours pulling a paper out of the banana box strapped to the carrier on the back of my bike. One handed I would fold the paper on my thigh, holding the handlebar with the other hand. I’d grab the paper in the middle, thump it on my leg to fold, then do the same to fold it once more. I was then able to insert the paper into the letter box and keep riding, so never really stopping. Of course there was no real care and often the front page would be torn when I scraped it on the top of the letter box.

There would be a little distance sometimes between the deliveries, and a game I would play was to get to the next letter box before my shadow disappeared. As the morning was dawning, and it was getting lighter, the street lights would switch off and the shadow would disappear.

It was that strange time pre-dawn when the lights have gone off that I would have no shadow.

That’s a magical time.

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

One Response to “Shadows, banana boxes and newspapers”

  1. Naomi Barnett says:

    Just love your reminiscences. Thanks for the trip down memory lane about having the folded-in-half and often-torn newspaper thrown over the fence by a young lad on a bike.

Leave a Reply

*

preload preload preload