A Shadowy Walk In The Hood

Until recently, the only time I made a New Year’s resolution was during the waning days of 1976. My intent back then was to ditch the cigarette habit I’d been enjoying for a dozen years. Man, I did it, starting a few days later on the first of January, though I had a low-level relapse in 1982 that didn’t reach its conclusion till 1985.

Several weeks ago, the circumstances were right once again for the New Year’s resolution thing. That’s because an annual health checkup, in mid-December 2019, revealed that my glucose level had inched a bit over the top of the normal range. Crap! What was a very-aging boy to do if he wanted to try and prevent diabetes from setting in? Well, some dietary changes definitely were in order. As in, cutting back on the carbs. And the time also had arrived to up the hours that I spend in motion, as opposed to those spent while sitting on my wrinkly ass. The experts seem convinced, you see, that a decent amount of sustained movement each week can help many people drive their glucose numbers southward. Ergo, since early January, in addition to the energy I expend running errands and chasing my own tail, I’ve been taking four or five half-hour walks each week.

Most of the walks have been in my suburban neighborhood which, unlike the rest of the town, is hilly as hell (I live near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA). Going uphill on the steep slopes is good, obviously, for my exercise regimen, though there’s no doubt I’ll be withdrawing that statement if the exertion precipitates a cardiac event. That’s assuming I survive said event, of course. So far, however, I haven’t needed the assistance of emergency medical personnel or of an undertaker, so I’ll stop that train of thought in its tracks. Let’s return to the walks.

While pounding the pavement on January 22, I noticed a couple of things that ordinarily wouldn’t have jumped out at me but, for reasons unknown, this time did. “Yeah, shadows!” I silently exclaimed to myself, at the end of the walk, when I saw some of them on the sidewalk near my house. “Shadows are cool. I’ll scour the neighborhood for shadows on the next walk. That’ll give me something to write about for the blog. The story won’t be amazingly interesting, but so what? Nobody expects anything all that interesting from old f*cks like me anyway.”

January 23 soon enough arrived. As I left my house that day at 11:30 AM, the temperature of about 42°F (6°C) was bracing but not all that bad. The skies were clear, so our pal The Sun was able to help cast shadows right and left. Ordinarily I listen to podcasts on my iPhone while walking in the hood, to avoid becoming bored shitless. But this time I was podcast-less, the better to focus on my mission. And so focused was I, an hour sped by before I knew it. I hadn’t expected to be out that long. At the end of the hour I arrived back home, having gotten plenty of exercise, and with a bunch of photos of shadows sitting within the phone.

I’ll say it again: Shadows are cool. They are shape-shifting, darkened, alternate images of what passes for reality. They have no substance at all, as far as I, a guy who nearly flunked high school physics, know. And yet, there they are. Not only that, they’re everywhere, they’re everywhere! Well, almost everywhere. I hope that my voyage through the hood the other day doesn’t cause me to become fixated on shadows, as that would be a turn of events not the least bit appreciated. But I sure enough dug them during the session in which I sought them out.

Shadow-wise, I didn’t come across anything particularly unexpected. But that was okay.  Tree shadows that spread mightily across fences and paved streets impressed me muchly, as did the dainty silhouettes of traffic signs. I envied the long fingers of the patterns created by play equipment in the kids’ section of the park two blocks from my abode. And everyday objects that I ordinarily wouldn’t give the time of day to, such as fire hydrants and recycling bins, received my blessings because of the endearingly goofy shapes that they produced.

Still, among all the pictures, how could I not most admire the one containing my own alter-image? I damn well have star appeal in that one, I’m certain everyone would agree. If any movie producers are reading this story (and why wouldn’t they be?) and are in need of a mysterious figure to lurk in the shadows of a movie scene or two or more (and why wouldn’t they be?), look no further. Lurking is my middle name. I am your man!

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127 thoughts on “A Shadowy Walk In The Hood

  1. Annika Perry February 9, 2020 / 10:42 am

    Neil, I hoped you’d have shadow you in here as well … and was rewarded at the end! 😀 I’m smiling at your excitement of shadows and think I recall what they are … oh yes, the sun has to be shining to enjoy them! Not much luck here! Good luck with your exercise regime and reckon you’ll soon find those half-hour walks too short.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 9, 2020 / 2:26 pm

      Hi. You know, so far I’m not minding the walks I’ve gotten hooked on a certain podcast, and it makes the time go by pretty quickly. I hope the Sun comes out in your part of the planet. See you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. alhenry February 9, 2020 / 3:44 pm

    I think you are approaching NY resolutions with the right spirit, Neil–sparingly and only for major stuff. And your relapse on the smokes from 1982-85 made me smile. As our old “friend” Rumsfeld said: Stuff happens. I like your shadow pics and agree that small stuff perhaps casts the biggest interest–particularly the fire hydrant. I’ll close with a bit of apropos philosophy from Rumi: “Keep walking though there’s no place to get to …”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Silver Screenings February 9, 2020 / 7:00 pm

    A great idea, to do a photo essay on shadows, especially during this time of year where the sun is weaker. This was an enjoyable virtual walk-about!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. veeds February 11, 2020 / 4:02 pm

    I’m a major fan of shadows and am continually amazed to see them crop up in my own house where you’d think I was pretty familiar with the walls! But a little Don Quixote wooden statue appears on a wall in late afternoon. And a philodendron looping its way around in my kitchen bay window appears as a cartoon figure when the light is just right.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. marilynyung February 15, 2020 / 9:53 am

    Cool post! I love shadows too. Also, I wonder how many people questioned your sanity when you were shooting the hydrant!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 15, 2020 / 11:12 am

      During the walk in question, someone got suspicious of me when I was photographing a shadow across the street from her house. I guess I can’t blame her. She had no idea who I was or what I was up to.


  6. jeanleesworld March 18, 2020 / 9:57 pm

    Shadows are indeed fascinating! And they have such a surreal, almost magical element to them. Mystical, I think I mean. I mean, I get it. It’s like I can see them tearing free as Peter Pan’s did, and being at a loss as to how to re-attach them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 18, 2020 / 10:58 pm

      And they’re almost everywhere. I’m looking around my living room as I type this. There are shadows on the floor, walls and ceiling.

      Hi Jean. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

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