ashamedtosay said: Great, now I feel bad about having a shadow.
Don’t feel bad about having a shadow! There are some things about you that just cannot be changed; it’s important that you be comfortable and confident regarding these aspects of your person. You are who you are, shadow and all.
The thing is, though, your mere existence has ramifications. Sometimes they are negative, sometimes they are positive, and sometimes they are independent of your intentions. Your shadow is an inherent part of you (assuming there is light to create said shadow), which means that you cannot prevent your person from blocking the sun’s rays from ever caressing the earth. The light will be blocked, and there is nothing that you can do to change that.
If you’re aware of how you’re existence impacts cause and effect, though — if you’re consciously thinking about how your person fits into the bigger picture — you can position yourself so that your shadow is minimized or so that the light that hits you is reflected onto an area shaded by someone else’s shadow or so that your shadow falls in an area that won’t be harmed by lack of light.
That post could easily be read in a way that negatively glorifies the power that your shadow gives you, but it doesn’t have to be. Your shadow is intrinsic to your corporeal existence, but maybe you’ve never stopped to think about your shadow as being part of you before. Consequently, you may not have given much thought as to how it impacts everything around you. But! Your shadow is a part of you, and you are responsible for it. Once you’re aware of your shadow, you can start manipulate it (to a certain degree) to have more positive effects or, at the very least, to be less negative.
This is all assuming that you care enough about others to spend time considering how your existence affects theirs, of course.
Your shadow is a confirmation that light has traveled nearly 93 million miles unobstructed, only to be deprived of reaching the ground in the final few feet thanks to you.
As we climbed the final switchbacks up to the South Rim, having logged 24 miles and ~10,000’ of elevation change on our feet, we passed by a father and son heading down trail a bit to catch the sunset and some photos.
Son: Dad, what are they doing with those?
Dad: Hikers use those poles when they are traveling a long ways — it helps to lessen the load that they carry.
Son: That looks fun! I want to do that.
Dad: No, you’ve got to be tripping to do that. C’mon.
Despite how terrible I felt at this point, I couldn’t help but smirk. To be honest, Dad, you’re kind of right. (But I still like your Son better.)
I guess we should rewind about 12 hours or so, because we certainly didn’t drive to this overlook.
Yesterday was way harder than a marathon. It terms of physical exertion, imagine running the most gruelling downhill trail half-marathon of your life, and then immediately continuing on to summit one of the most prominent mountains in the lower 48. That is essentially the gist of day hiking Rim-to-Rim. It was a day, to say the least.
Today I learned that when you kill a toenail from repeated pounding (i.e., during running/hiking, especially downhill) and it turns pinkish/purplish, that’s actually because there is a huge blood blister in between the nail bed and the nail — the blood eventually oxidizes, turning your nail blackish. Today I also learned that clipping your toenail too soon after killing it can quickly become a traumatizing, messy experience. I will spare you the photos.
After two nights of camping, 12ish hours on the trail, and a total of 16 hours in the car, I can finally relax. I’m sprawled out in my bed, recovering with The Internet, white cheddar mac & cheese, and a very full Nalgene.
Life is good.
A really big hole in the ground.
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