Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shadow Travel

Yesterday at an airport in Paris I heard an employee inform a traveler that she needed to take the next shadow.  "To get to Terminal 1, you must take the shadow."  It took me a moment to grasp what she was saying.  Clearly you must take a shuttle, but I prefer the idea of taking a shadow.

After all in New York we have Shadow Traffic.  A lovely expression if you think about it, really.  Given that to shadow someone means to follow in a surreptious way.  There is also a delight in shadows.  One can't help but remember Peter Pan's problems with his shadow and his need to have Wendy help him by sewing it on.  Or one of my favorite childhood poems that I can still recite from memory.  Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "My Shadow," from a Child's Garden of Verses.  "I 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." 

The notion of a shadow as a form of transport appeals to the child within me.  When we think our shadows are real or that they are following us.  When we try to hide from them.  This leads me to the idea of Shadow Travel - journeys to the dark side. Why should we only see the spectacular and the beautiful?  Why not the ruble, the dirty, the underside?  I like to think of the shadow world as the one where the wild things are. 

So, after having spent almost twenty-four hours in airports, in taxis, and airplanes, the idea of taking the next shadow appeals to me.  Perhaps we could even hail one as we do a cab.  Perhaps it is a flicker of memory, a way to travel back to the past, or a hint of things to come.  If we take the next shadow, where do we end up?


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