Me and My Shadow

When I walk Cocoa–or is he walking me–I notice he sometimes barks at what seems like nothing. I have come to see that, as a 4-month-old Standard Poodle pup, he is barking at his shadow, and mine, too.

Do you bark at your shadow? Sometimes I do.

Of course, I don’t literally bark, and the shadow I mean is different from the one Cocoa sees.

But I am being shadowed–by many people and experiences from my past. And I can easily be spooked by them, and let them seem very real–so real that I might as well bark at them. In fact, when I see these shadows of the past in other people I can perform human equivalents.

Past failures, emotional injuries, people I have let down or hurt, disappointments–all of that, and more, haunt and shadow me. Of course, now I have Cocoa and he often clings to me like a shadow. He is a shadow I adore.

Cocoa does not yet know that his shadow is harmless. He will learn.

I can learn something, too. I can learn to be more aware of my shadows so they don’t catch me unawares and make more trouble. I can find the strength in them as well as pain and weakness.

And I can bid them “farewell” when they get in the way.

Published by

Robin Hawley Gorsline

Robin is a poet (claiming this later in life) and Queer Theologian--reflecting a soul of hope and faith and joy and justice/shalom. He is happily married to Dr. Jonathan Lebolt (20 years and counting), the proud parent of three glorious daughters (and grateful to two wonderful sons-in- law and a new one soon!), and the very proud "Papa" to Juna (6) and Annie (3).

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