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A Day in a Life

Light changes everything. 

Color is only the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light. 

Vision is the special sense by which the qualities of an object (such as color, luminosity, shape, and size) constituting its appearance are perceived through a process in which light rays entering the eye are transformed by the retina into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve.

Light gives shape and meaning to the world.
As the earth makes its long trip around the sun and its axis moves in relationship to the fiery, flaming ball, light changes. It gets dark earlier. Or later, and the things we see change. Or maybe we just see the same things differently.

When I go to work, after the autumnal equinox things change. Shadows start to take form, gather mass, grow and move. 

Twice this week when I pulled into our parking lot there was a person sitting on the small platform in front of the loading dock. He, or she, seemed surprised to see me, my headlights anyway. The shadowy frame stirred, wakened from a silent, brooding fantasy. 

I parked, on the other side of the dumpsters. Past the shipping containers sitting flat on the parking lot, used to store excess goods. I walked around the square, steel boxes and the stoop was empty. He wasn’t there. I realized then how dark it was that morning. How much the whole complexion of my world had changed. 

There was no color anymore, everything had taken a varied shade of gray. Everything was dark, or a little darker. For a moment I wondered if the darkness had summoned the shadowy figure, or the figure had brought the shadows.

The ancient Celts believed the boundaries between the world of the living and the dead became blurred after the harvest and before the arrival of winter. Mexicans celebrate el Dia De La Muerta between October 31st and November 2nd every year. Celebrants believe it is a two day holiday the unites the families with loved ones who have passed away. Music and the smell of food fill the air across the nation. 

He might have been a ghost. Possibly he was one of the homeless people who live in the area. It might have been an exhausted third shift worker headed for the bus stop and needed to stop and rest his weary legs. I am sure, whoever it is, or was, they were just passing through. Which, I suppose, is what we’re all doing, going from one place to another. Light to shadow, dawn to dusk, in between we try to get by, we lean on each other, and we carry those who stumble. And in the end we have to answer to ourselves. As Joseph Conrad said; “we live as we dream, alone.” Eternity is only as far as tomorrow.

Maybe I’ll start going in by the timing of dawn. When the light is better for the shadows. To hell with daylight savings, give me moonlight. There is some comfort in running into a shadow. 

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