Down Nature's Paths



WHAT color are shadows? Oh, black, naturally; everybody knows that. Oh, but is a shadow black? Not always, as this little tale reveals:

My unit of nine-year-old juniors—the Kookaburras they called themselves—on a nature hike at camp, stood on the trail above Lake Woodhaven, and looked at the water through a fringe of trees.

"What color is the water?" I asked.

"White!" they shouted.

"What makes it white?"

"Shadows!" they all cried, and one added, "Shadows of the clouds."

So shadows may be white.

Simkin Street runs west, and the sunsets one sees down it are little foretastes of the New Jerusalem. And half the glories of those sunsets are shadows—shadows that are rich blue and dusty rose and burnt orange and smoky flame colored. And even after the orb is far sunken, and the sunset colors have burned down to ardent coals along the hilltop horizon, the clouds above are transfused with flame. Shadows are sunset colored.

The boarding school where I once taught was surrounded by a maple grove so dense that little grew under the trees, and it was like walking through an arcade to pass beneath them. Surely one was in the black shadows then. But in summer that shade was a delicate green shot through with gold. And in winter, when Minnesota was knee-deep in snow, the rising sun sent long shadows of the leafless maples across the snow; and those shadows were deep, intense purple and crimson. Shadows are royal colors.

A shadow is cast by an object that intercepts some of the passing light rays—not all, for then we would have total darkness and no shadows at all. The intercepting more or less breaks up the light; hence we may have all the colors of the rainbow in shadows. And the colors partake somewhat of the colors of the objects that cast them. Shadows and reflections are almost indistinguishable, and both may be any color, depending on the source.

"For I am sometimes in the sunshine, Sometimes in the shadows, Walking every day with Him."

So sang the juniors around their campfire. Walking every day with Jesus does not insure our walking without shadows. Jesus Himself walked always with the shadow of the cross over Him. Our walk with Him will be through many a shadow. But those shadows need not be black—will not be black for the Christian. They will be reflections of the rainbow around the Father's throne. They will glow with deep shades of rich color reflected from the glory of God and the good angels, whose presence near us is concealed by the shadows. One who has ever walked with God in the shadows understandingly will sincerely say:

"I'd rather walk with Him in the dark

Than walk alone in the light."