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Ohara Koson: Six Geese and Shadows (1926)
"Slowing down and showing up …"

I seemed somehow primed to anticipate that The Law of Unintended Consequences would tend toward rolling snake eyes, the worst possible outcomes, but Our Grand Refurbish has produced more counter examples than supportive ones. On samples, The Muse's choice of color seemed unremarkable, perhaps bordering on regrettable, being a shade of grey, for cripes sake, but in practice, it became a chameleon color, capable of surprising variations depending upon even small changes in light and shadow. Rather than drab grey walls, The Villa now has vibrant technicolor ones, each corner marking at least a subtle shift in color or texture, each angle shifting the nature of each room. It's all more than a little bit overwhelming, for the rooms seem to be in continual motion. Leave a room and it will have changed by the time you return. Step into a room and some subtle or significant shift might imprint. The place seems to have grown at least one additional dimension.

I'm most impressed with the Villa's new proclivity for CatchingShadows.
I had not noticed before we repainted, but the rooms have become projection booths. The rectangular boundaries formerly defining edges had been co-opted by sharper angles left by shadows cast and caught. I prefer to believe that our rooms, our home, have gone into the under-appreciated business of CatchingShadows and projecting them for our delight and, perhaps, enlightenment. One never knows with shadows, a negative space intrusion lacking substance, whether they're up to good or ill. Most scary movies employ shadows to amplify threats and terrors. Little popular literature interprets shadows as positive presences, but more often as sinister ones, yet there's little mysterious about shadow-making except that many of us seem to have been programmed not to see them. They probably abound but get lost in what we perceive as background. What if shadows were the primary experience and everything else, supporting actors?

I expect that once we finish hanging pictures and mirrors and repositioning lamps, this current shadow period of Our Grand Refurbish might fade into a past. I sincerely hope not, for I'm growing used to inhabiting these marvelous movies. We're entering the season notorious in this valley for lacking sunlight. A low cloud cover dominates and the thermometer hovers just above freezing, we're often socked in. It's a season that sends shadows packing but I'm hoping that these grey walls will perform some magic with them, manifesting some even without any dominant light source behind them. Work lights, while we've been reworking rooms, have been casting light up and through the usuals: ladders, sawhorses, and such, producing the most unusual shadows for the reworked walls to catch and become like pieces of modern art, all odd angles, allegory, and story. Those shadows seem to tell stories. They sing songs of deep appreciation for having been coaxed into such service. They become dramatic presences, sweet resonances, warm remembrances.

And what of me here? Am I CatchingShadows, too, seeing through the usual veil and glimpsing something familiar? I have felt the shadows hovering near since The Muse and I returned here. Hovering near but not manifesting much until we'd started putting the finishing touches on Our Grand Refurbish. Then the shadows started showing up and I recognize that they will probably be with me here for the rest of my life. I've had my years on the run, times when not even the sun could catch me and I couldn't cast or catch a shadow for the life of me. I've lost interest in outrunning anything, even my destiny, especially my destiny. I can amuse and enlighten myself watching this place CatchingShadows, creating works of art without substance, just profound significance. I could become too busy to notice but I'm slowing down. Slowing down and showing up, turning grey and CatchingShadows.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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