Monday, December 04, 2006

Shadow and substance

Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
William Shakespeare

Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance.
Herman Melville, in Moby Dick

A shadow can tell us so much about the nature of the substance that created it. Take this shadow of a tree in my front yard following last week’s snow storm, for instance. It can tell you a lot about the tree's breadth and height.

Yet it can become easy to confuse shadow and substance, and great writers like Aesop, Herman Melville and William Shakespeare devoted works to solving the conundrum. But let me give you a simple tip for determining whether something in your life is shadow or substance.

Substance makes you smart like crazy when you collide with it. I guess that’s why they say the truth hurts.

Okay, not real deep, but come on, it’s Monday. Have a good one.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2006 James Jordan.


sundae said...

this one's my favourite:

"Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us"

(I forgot who said it though)

Jose said...

Ahhh! Snow, that's something I don't get to see here in Phoenix. But then again, I think I can do fine without it.