>don’t look directly at the shadow


A day after Robb arrived for her annual visit, they piled into Dad’s pickup — Mom in the middle with my dad driving and Robb to my mother’s right. In the back, no doubt, was Roadey, my mother’s one-hundred-pound dog and a cooler with water and juices, carrot and celery sticks. Maybe even some of my mother’s cupcakes. Road trips without Mom’s food in a cooler haven’t happened yet.
Robb has made the annual Trip Back To Montana for at last fifty years. She is my mother’s best friend. By now, this threesome must have driven every back road and seen all there is to see Out Here. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a few months, you may have noticed how many times my dad’s landscape photos have shown up in here. He never tires of our vast landscape nor of  taking photos of the same plateaus, buttes, rock formations and faint wagon trails he visits on these drives.
This trip, however, Robb asked my dad to stop in the middle of the gravel road. Take a picture of the praying hands she suggested in her back-easternly way. At first Dad couldn’t see what she was referring to-on account of the shadows along the ridge. Then he realized because of the shadows, the praying hands were possible to be seen.
At 12:51 A. M. this morning my BlackBerry buzzed on my nightstand. I rolled over in bed, knowing I had a new message from my dad (he doesn’t sleep at night). He had sent me the above photo and a quick note about what he’d learned. When we let shadows do what they do best, we see what they suggest.
What I like best about good poetry are the shadows between the words. Often the poem that vibrates inside me is the one which only suggests what might be revealed. I live for the gradual realization we experience when we let shadows work their tricks on us.

About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

4 responses to “>don’t look directly at the shadow

  1. >Your dad must be part Indian. They can see things like that. It's a wonder, and so is your relationship with your dad.I love this reference to vibrating shadows. When you're poetry aware, life shimmers.

  2. >hi kass,well dad didn't really see it until robb slowed him down. robb could be part indian with her tuned-in ways. i believe her last marriage was to an indian (not sure what tribe). he was a remarkable man. my own dad has done an about-face in the past ten+ years, so it's been a blessing to have him in our lives sharing of himself. i love what you said about "when you're poetry aware, life shimmers." in so few words you've said what i often struggle to convey to others.hi kathleen-so good to hear! my daughter looked at this last night and said she saw one hand and a dark blob beside it. 🙂

  3. >Once you named them, I could see the hands right away. I love how landscape changes with a change in lighting. You can look at the same vista over and over and it never looks the same, especially with the breaking of the dawn, or at sunset.Thank you for your sharing your observation about poetry. I love your concluding line: "I live for the gradual realization we experience when we let shadows work their tricks on us." I read a book by Louise Erdrich, Shadow Tag, while I was on vacation. You may enjoy this book. Much of it still resonates with me, and I'm not sure what I think about all of it- that's a good thing.

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