Thursday, August 7, 2008


IT never ceases to amaze me how many things we are taught in school are really learned way earlier, or at least can be, at home. I was in another room late afternoon when Emma called me excitedly from the kitchen to come and see her shadow. I couldn't imagine where there was enough light to make a shadow at that time because usually the only shadow play we do is outside on a sunny day. But walking across the kitchen she had noticed a faint shadow thrown onto the white kitchen door, and was quite fascinated. She walked backwards, watching her shadow growing, then forwards and it shrank to her own size. Then backwards, and forwards, and so on for a good 10 minutes, all the time giving me a running commentary: "Look Mama! Big Emma shadow... Mama! Tiny Emma shadow...Mama! Emma shadow getting big!"

Then we had to repeat the whole process with a giant Mama shadow - then because all this movement and excitement was too much to just stand by and watch, the dog bounded up to join in too. By that time the shadows turned into a blur. We found the light source to be a window at the other end of the house, where the sun was low in the sky. "Night night, sun."

My Shadow - Robert Louis Stevenson

I HAVE a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

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