The Shadow of Choice
A pause. A sigh. A choice.
Always a choice.
A body blur stands in the foreground, an inchoate shadow. Shapeless, sexless, ageless. And yet, knowing nothing about this formless being, I feel an instant kindredness. The tendrils of universal hesitation wrap around my heart as I sympathize.
"Consider this," the artist seems to say. "Consider the broad and easy way, all pink and glowing in the late afternoon sun." For ahead is an open hallway in a rosy wall, no door impediment to ponder. Just a way that waits, a harmless mouth of opportunity.
And at the end of this short shadowed hall? The bright blue of Future.
The way of Meant to Be.
The painting is deceptively simple. All straight lines—vertical, horizontal, diagonal—except for the sacklike lump of shadow. Is it the deception of simplicity that makes our formless friend pause?
On the left, in the deeper shadow of choice, lie three more openings; access to the black halls of unknowing. Two white sentries stand guard. Are they doors open in welcome? Will they swing shut and preclude exit once entered? Are they shields? Blockades? Do they beckon or bar the way? Does that depend upon some unrevealed aspect of the shadow body?
Shadow casts itself across all choices. There is no way outside the power of its hand, unless no choice is made. To remain in sunlight is to remain frozen in place.
The dilemma creeps through my chest, crawls into crannies of what-ifs and who's to say, questions the nature of my nature, the nature of way, the nature of choice.
I become the shadow body, caught in eternal indecision.
It's not so simple, after all.
Renee Soasey is working toward completion of a BFA in Creative Nonfiction and toward completion of an off-the-grid home in the high desert of Central Oregon.
The Ekphrastic Review
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