Monday, January 24, 2011

Shadows and Play Houses

As a child I memorized this poem by Robert Lewis Stevenson, and amazingly I still remember most of it. (Now where did I put my glasses?

My Shadow
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—         5
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.  10
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.

The Daily Guidepost's selection for today caused me to think of this poem as it was about how God sticks as close to us as a shadow.
Before this poem, I had never really paid much attention to my shadow, but afterward I often played games with my shadow, trying to step on it, race with it, and other games.
Another favorite play strategy was making "play houses". This involved  creating an enclosed space on the ground lined with rocks, limbs, or scraps of lumber.One particular play house was infested with black widow spiders, probably from the lumber that I dragged from the shed. I dealt with this threat by using a stick to flip the boards over to check for spiders and smashing any I found. Frequently the space was divided into rooms and I was careful to walk through "doors" and not step over walls. The room that required the most detail was the kitchen and I had a a cache of cooking "pots" and bowls. Plates were usually flat leaves and silverware was sticks. Mud pies were a favorite and they were decorated with china berry balls (fruits), stones, and anything else that caught my eye. The main object here was playing in mud. After a spell of mud pie making, the play house would be moved somewhere else.  I moved those play houses more than I played in them. I guess I got moving out of my system then, because moving has been a dreaded thing in my adult life. Maybe moving clearly points out the stuff  I have that needs to go west and a lot of it is not as obviously disposable as leaf plates.


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