The following is a musing from my book, Late Night Musings, which I published a while back. I hope you enjoy it.
I have written before about the changes a body, my body, goes through as it ages. Except for those disciplined few, we all add a few pounds. Some overachieve and add even more weight. For some, their walk isn’t quite as upright as it used to be. Perhaps it’s just the weight of all those years resting on their shoulders that give them that stooped look. Somewhere along the way, we seem to gain extra skin which manifests itself in wrinkles. For many men, what they seem to gain in skin is offset by a loss of hair. But in a perverse sense of humor, Mother Nature makes up for that balding head by allowing hair to grow in one’s nose and ears.
Aging is pretty much under control of Mother Nature; what she gives, she also takes away. She allows us to grow to our full adult height, and then she comes along in our latter years and takes a few inches back. I guess she redistributes all those reclaimed inches to who are young and still growing. What brought all this to mind was something I observed the other day. For all of the changes that growing older has brought, standing in the sun I realized there is one thing that hasn’t changed about me and, in fact, it may be the only thing that hasn’t changed. While standing there, I glanced down and saw my shadow. As I looked at it, I realized it really hasn’t changed that much. It has followed me around for these past seventy years or so, walking in lock step with me, never complaining and never changing.
Oh there might be some subtle changes to be noticed if I happen to stand in a certain position, but by and large my shadow is still the same shadow I had decades ago. The interesting thing is it has not become bald, has no wrinkled skin and has weathered these many decades quite well. Looking at it reminds me of what I use to be. If I look at it long enough, I can see a young man of fifteen or twenty, walking along, oblivious what he was walking towards—today. My shadow will continue its walk with me through my remaining good days and bad days until I cease to be; then it will disappear along with me. I don’t know what else I could ask for; it has been my faithful companion for as long as I can recall.