Saturday, February 10, 2007


On Groundhog's Day, Mirriam-Webster's Word for the Wise radio program visited the meaning of the word shadow. The initial exploration begins with the following attempt to shed light on a somewhat difficult word:

[A shadow] isn't as easy to describe as you might think. The sort of shadow associated with today names the partial darkness or obscurity within a part of space from which rays from a source of light (the sun) are cut off by an interposed opaque body (the groundhog).

It is interesting that while a shadow is defined as a part of space where something is missing (light), that something present is left in its wake. What do I mean? It has been evident in our recent walks through the fields that where a shadow has fallen, there the snow remains. Where there are no shadows, the snow has disappeared. The presence of nothing leaves something. No wonder shadows are hard to define.