I’m back in the shadow again. After a July and August filled with sickness and total exhaustion, I have made it back onto my mountain bike for only my second real mountain bike ride of the summer. The first involved a rainstorm, a steep mountain road, and no brakes….but I’d rather not remember that one. Let’s talk about today.
Today I panted my way up our friendly neighborhood mesa. Once at the top it is a paradise of flat winding trails. As I zoomed across the mesa top, I kept my head down, navigating the rocks and watching for rattlesnakes for a good 10 minutes until I caught my shadow cast by the late afternoon sun. It is like watching a movie of myself. I love shadows because you can see who you want to be in your shadow. For years I’ve always looked at the shadow and saw who I used to be as an athlete and lamented that I would never be that again.
Not today. Today I was grateful for my shadow. Today, I just saw me out on my bike riding free and being who I am today with the promise of who I can be tomorrow. Once I did that, an amazing thing happened. I looked up and I saw not where I couldn’t be, but where I was. Wow. What a view!
As I kept riding (only looking down when I had to maneuver up and over rocks), I came across the acres of charred earth where a fire had scorched the top of the mesa several weeks ago.
Again I was struck by the beauty of what can come from the ashes—what can rise that once was fallen. They were Black-eyed Susans—their petals on fire from the setting sun. I laughed as I took this picture. I felt like this flower. What a perfect flower name for this rebirth —you can knock me down and give me a black eye, but I’ll keep coming back!
Charles Dickens once said, “There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.” That was so true today—for the flowers and for me.