One cold and blustery morning, a shadow spread its wings and announced his dominion. “Welcome to my home,” he said. “Please, scan the detritus that your kind has left in worship of me.” His flight-path guided me and showed me the grayness the llano had become; what I imagine to have once been a fertile and lush pasture was now a field where dead branches and windblown weeds pepper the landscape.
I followed the course the Shadow prescribed and I could feel death’s pulse pump through my own veins. I feared that maybe he showed me too much; I only entered the llano to stretch my legs and fill my lungs with fresh air. “I didn’t mean to disturb you,” I said. “I just needed a break and get a sense for the day’s weather. There’s not much I need to see here and–”
“Oh, but you’re wrong,” the Shadow said. You are among the Shadow Warriors. Those human souls who brave the darkness, not because you’re not afraid, but because you know that the shadow’s darkness can be illuminated. Look, your enemy is as much much a part of the earth as the Juniper shrubs.”
I looked down and saw an empty can sprouting form the cold dead earth. It was accompanied by empty Yukon Jack miniature bottles and I couldn’t help but be reminded about how much alcohol and other substances have permeated and poisoned our collective soul. A whole region of my homeland is enslaved by alcohol and opiates. Depression and Anxiety disorders have turned our humanity into as much of a cold and lifeless plain as the llano over which The Shadow presides. But we only have ourselves to blame: We don’t teach our youth that they can stand on their. Rather, we teach them that they are entitled to happiness just because they exist. But happiness must be cultivated and developed. No one’s future is guaranteed. Life is a miracle, but the miracle lies in the seed that lies within our souls that is meant to grow and extend hope and love.
The cold air pierced my clothes and inflamed my lungs. I cried and my tears might as well have frozen to my cheeks for as much as they stung. “Don’t cry, shadow warrior,” The Shadow said. “It is your mission, as it is all Shadow Warriors, to let the shadows teach you such that you can learn to bring shadow’s darkness into light. Let my path remind you that death’s decay gives way to life’s rebirth. Walk in the shadows — I welcome you to our home”
Photo credit: juan blea