Beautiful Shadows
River Road
The Virginia Exhibit
A Lost Car on Spike Canyon
The Beneficiaries
Invisible The Morning After
Beautiful Shadows
Something Like Wonder
Try to Keep Up
A Series of Moments Between Clocks
The Unromantic REAL World of Gulliver's Travels
Meant for One Thing
The Lesser of Evils
Love and Nemesis
The Sinning Bishop
The World In Your Pocket
Higher Purpose
A Promising Look at Genesis
Not For The Ladies
Fooling Around and Falling In Love
The Tediousness of Tragic Love
Poetic Analysis for "The Trees"
Creation On Dub
Creating the Universe
Fast Acting In Small Doses
As Crazy As They
We Can Always Use More Utopia
A Little Church in Corinth
The Theory of Carl Rogers
Historically Speaking
Different Shades, Same Color
A Rose for a Funeral
Obsessed With Race

Based on Plato's concept: the cave allegory.


     All in a line, they sat, staring. They were the experts, staring because staring is what filled their minds and hearts with the sense of reality they had always known. They had done nothing but stare since the beginning of time. They were meant to stare. Meant to take in this and nothing else.

     On the rocky wall built up in their line of sight was the soft, flickering firelight that glowed from the great flames behind them, where they had never turned. The wall covered their minds and reached to every corner of their vision, limited by their unturning heads and their blank lack of desire for anything more.
The fire was ever burning- their eyes ever staring. For hours and days the fuzzy glow danced...for weeks and years the moments repeated their comfortable warmth.

     It had been this way since the beginning. They sat, they stared, they did not move. The firelight glowed and bubbled on the rock, and the shadows would come and go. Sometimes they would be shaped with crisp edges, pushing the gentle light into the background with their exciting, black realness. They would form things that had never been, but yet their names seemed to crystalize in the minds of those staring- these things called men...trees....dogs. Meaningless words to go with the black shapes...the curving and cornered lines of empty darkness that filled a hole in the raging fire. They did not look at each other. They saw only the rock, the fire, the beautiful shadows. Time became nothingness. Life became a glow.

     At one point she shivered. The others did not. She managed to turn her head- something the others had never done. She moved her eyes from the rock and behind her to the real flaming source of the light. Her bones creaked painfully against one another, moving where they had never moved before. Her skin stretched menacingly...her cold face suddenly lit and burning. Her eyes watered and swam into blurry pools. Her vision errupted. Where there had once been lovely and predictable shadows, there was a spinning ball of steam and anguish- sending spears of pain into the soft core of her heart.

     Still, she turned further. Her body cried out, but her mind was crying louder. Crying with desire. She turned her back to the rocky wall while the others sat dazed and content as the outline of a man appeared once again on the yellow-orange backdrop. This time the shape was beckoning with a gentle curve of its arm...welcoming the others to watch, but she was staring the real thing, and knew in the fried depths of her existence that what it was doing meant something. It had white things that moved about in the small round portion of its high side. They seemed to stop when she stared at them, holding their place. A sound escaped her dry lips, and before long there were more sounds. The others did not notice. The sounds were behind them, certainly not a part of the world that the rock was giving them.

     All at once the moment was changing. The hard gritty surface of the floor leapt downwards, and a soft, cool cradle of air was around here, lifting her. The shadowy thing had wrapped itself around her somehow...she had felt its touch on her hand. It had pulled her away from the rock and made her body cry out once more with the pain of being moved. Her hand was prickled with contact that seemed to last and last. The darting white things disappeared for a moment, then returned. She stared as this repeated itself...and let herself collapse into the black shape before her. There was nowhere else to go. The others could not forget her, for they never knew her. All they knew was the rock...the glow...the shadow...and now the shadow had picked her.

     The cradle of sensation that enveloped her was a rebirth. Time began to tick. Moments became something more than rock, more than glowing firelight. The temperature of the world entered her eyes, her ears, her nose. These things that had before been empty spaces in the back of her mind now had words...much like some of the shadows had had names.. Man, tree, dog. Eyes, ears, nose. Words and language appeared in the dark, and a tiny pinpoint of light materialized somewhere far away. She was being lead...carried...caressed...softly touched by something alive, and the pinpoint was growing bigger. Much bigger. There was something at her feet now. The surface that had once been close, and had jumped downward was now jumping away and returning over and over as she moved along a tunnel. The light was coming.

     Her heart exploded and her vision fell inward to the tired muscles of her face. Her mind became a liquid, boiling universe of whiteness. For hours and days the whiteness held. For weeks and years it became the rock. Things began to move on form shapes. Though there was no firelight, there was color- a mind-blowing color that made her think only of deep, eternal life. It was an eternity of color and soft, gentle air moving about her. Then all at once she saw it, and tears flew from her eyes in a shower, filling the moment with priceless energy. Her lips formed the word for the thing she had only felt in the back of her mind, and she found her voice- a thing she had never had. Her voice gripped at the word for a moment, then let it fall, fearful of what it might do. What she was seeing was gorgeous- a thing that no shadow had ever prepared her for, and it was the mind-blowing color of eternal life. It was tall and green and slender, with roots that reached into the very core of the earth. She cried until it disappeared again...her body rocking with sobs of the biggest joy in existence. The light took her again.

     As time fell into order, she felt the shadowy thing touch her, but somehow she knew it was no shadow. If she could have opened her tired eyes she would have seen the lovely creature. She could have held onto it with her vision and felt its every color flow through her. Instead she let it brush her, her tears drowning her heart as it pulled itself closer and smaller in her core. The image of the tree was burning into her deeper and heavier than any rock wall in firelight ever could. She let herself die in the moment. She let herself slip away into darkness again. She let herself be taken by the beautiful shadow.

     When she opened her eyes, there was nothing but blackness. The color she had dreamed of was not only gone, but had never been. The surface at her feet was numb and indistinct, and the light that had just broken her heart with joy was now disappearing into a pinpoint again behind her. She couldn't see it, but she knew it was there. Her head would not turn towards it.

     There was nothing but blackness.

     Feeling her way along the empty darkness, she sank into her spot in line with the others. They did not move. They did not breathe. They stared. She could feel them staring, though the wall was gone, and the firelight was gone with it. The shadows had never been; her heart had never been. She had been blinded by the light she had held so dear in the one moment in time she had truly lived. Time was gone. She was gone. The others stared. They were meant to stare- meant to take in this and nothing more. She shivered. The others did not.

Katherine Kennon (2004)