David Abram, “Becoming Animal”

“One of the marks of our obliviousness, one of the countless signs that our thinking minds have grown estranged from the intelligence of our sensing bodies, is that today a great many people seem to believe that shadows are flat.  Suppose however, that a bumblebee is making its way from a clutch of clover blossoms on one side of the road to another cluster of blooms in an overgrown weedlot across the street, and that as it does so the bee happens to pass between me and the flat shape that my body casts upon the pavement.  The sunlit bee buzzes toward me, streaking like an erratic, drunken comet against the asphalt sky, and then it crosses an unseen boundary in the air: instantly its glow dims, the sun is no longer upon it – it has moved into a precisely bounded zone of darkness that floats between my opaque flesh and that vaguely humanoid silhouette laid out upon the pavement…  That silhouette is only my shadow’s outermost surface.  The actual shadow does not reside primarily on the ground; it is a voluminous being of thickness and depth, a mostly unseen presence that dwells in the air between my body and that ground.  This living shadow is born afresh every dawn, or rather, the shadow is what remains of the night as the night’s gloom flees the advance of the rising sun.”

One Comment on “David Abram, “Becoming Animal””

  1. barbara says:

    magnificent! where in the world did you find??? i will never think of shadows, see shadows, in the same old way again…..thank you for opening my eyes……xoxo

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