Spring Creek, NV

Shadows of the Desert - Life in Spring Creek

Anne Bonfert

If a shadow is what keeps you alive

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If you mention the word “shadow” or the saying of “being the shadow of someone” you connect it immediately with something negative. A shadow is dark. A shadow is someone or something unwanted. A shadow is a negative side-effect.

But is it really?

A shadow is more than just a dark spot on the ground. A shadow can be protection. But then we call it the shade. If you’re sitting in the shade of a tree. That is confusing. Especially for non-native English speakers.

When do I say shadow? And what is the difference between shadow and shade? The German translation of both words is “Schatten”. So it is the same thing.

It’s the same thing but depending on the context you use different words. Let’s see if I can use them correctly. I’ll try my best. My former boss once explained it to me a while ago.

Like so many other things I wouldn’t say or pronounce right. I am so grateful for all the corrections and explanations she did. That is how I learned a lot. And improved my English.

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The shadows of the desert are what keeps so many animals alive. Without a spot in the shade of a tree, most wildlife wouldn’t be able to cope with the blazing heat of the midday sun.

While antelopes can walk for hours through the desert without needing water, rest, or aircon, they do need some shade from time to time. Even the smallest tree or bush can suffice.

It doesn’t need much. Some branches and maybe a few leaves on it. That’s already enough to cool down the ground underneath it. And that’s all they want.

They want to be protected from the heat.

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Protection from the sun

Not only trees are there for protection. Valleys and mountains create shadows too. Depending on the time of the day and the direction they are facing in. Animals know them all. The shady spots of their territory.

They know when to rest at which mountain range and where to find the next tree. The next tree that could offer some shade. Shadows can be very small during the summer. But they are needed.

Humans need shadows just as much. If not even more. Our human skin is not made for being in the scorching sun for hours. Our skin will burn. Skin cells will die.

We need the protection of the sun. Especially in the desert. We need those shady spots. Where nature throws shadows into the landscape. We need to hide from the sun. Together with the animals.

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The shadow of a cloud

Shadows appear from the sun being blocked by something. As I mentioned it doesn’t have to be a tree. Pretty much everything on earth will throw a shadow at some point of the day.

But also things in the sky create shadows. Birds. Planes. And clouds.

Clouds create the weirdest pictures on the ground. While blocking the sun. Partially. Or entirely. Clouds are strong. They protect us from the dangers of the sun.

When seeing the shadow approaching on the ground you’ll know something will happen. If the shadow gets dark enough you might even get rain. Which is great! The desert needs rain.

Like everything in life, it depends on how you look at it. Most people don’t like rain. Because they get cold and wet. The cars get dirty and you can’t do anything outside. Which is not true.

The people living in the desert run out of their houses when it starts to rain. They grab paddleboards, rubber ducks, tires, or simply anything that floats and play in the rain.

Rain means life.

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Shadows that give you away

Your own shadow can give you away. To your enemies. Predators can spot animals by seeing their shadows. Or the other way around. Antelopes can spot an approaching predator by his shadow.

The later it gets in the day the longer your shadow becomes. Watch out for what you are walking in front of and who you’re passing. It is your shadow. And it follows you. But it doesn’t always walk where you do.

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Shadows in the dunes

This picture of a dune shows perfectly the two sides of life. The bright one. The one where the sun shines on. The side of life where everything works and everyone is happy.

But there’s another side to it too. Behind all the smiles and happiness there might be something hidden. Fear. Danger. Depression. You never know what. Most people don’t visit that side. Because they are scared of it.

People are scared of the shadow in life. It’s something they can’t deal with. They can’t handle frustration, depression, and sadness. But it’s part of life. It’s as much part of life as the bright side is too.

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Shadows of the morning sun

They are long. Not only the afternoon sun creates long shadows. The morning sun does too. At first, everything is covered. The sun isn’t reaching this part of the world.

Until she does. And then slowly but surely she created long shadows. Shadows that become shorter by the minute. The higher the sun climbs the smaller the shadows become.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

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Shadows of the sky

I do know I am talking about shadows in the desert and post a picture of the beach. But the Namib desert reaches the ocean. They meet on the beach. Red desert sand meets the fine beach sand.

And so does the sky. The sky above the desert creates shadows. Clouds, stripes, and reflections on the ocean. This is what comes out.

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Shadows of the night

Shadows don’t just exist in the daytime. They exist at night time too. Light from the moon being blocked by anything creates some shade.

The shadows of the night are darker. They look scarier. At night everything is quieter. And peaceful. Yet it’s a trap. Too much silence means something is going to happen.

Don’t worry about the sounds at night. Do worry if the sounds stop. You won’t hear an approaching animal. It will just be there. All of a sudden. Appearing out of the shadow of the night.

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Shadows of the past

Shadows can be timely. Things from the past can throw a shadow onto the present. Or even the future. Our actions for example. It’s about responsibility to make them positive.

But if we don’t act by thinking of future generations our behavior can result in a dark layer that will slowly set on the future. A shadow. Created by ourselves. By blocking nature to thrive we construct a dark shadow.

Sometimes nature creates itself shadows that will stay for future generations. Like those trees in the above picture. Those trees have died several hundreds of years ago.

While in other parts of the world they would have disappeared by now due to natural decomposition — they did not in this case. Here in the desert, they are still part of the landscape.

Dead trees. Black from the scorching sun. But still standing. Shadows of the past. There was once water over here. A long time ago. Nothing but dead trees show off a bright past.

Final words

There’s more behind a shadow than just the dark copy of something. Shadows aren’t just negative parts of life. They can be a sad sign of bad behavior. But they can be the opposite too.

Shadows are important in nature. Having some shade is crucial for several animals during the fight for survival. Shade means protection. And protection is what you need out there. In the unforgiving desert.

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” — picturequotes.com

When have you last been out in the desert in Spring Creek?

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I am a traveler. Photographer. Writer. Teacher. Skydiving instructor. Adventure enthusiast. Nature lover. And fell in love with the African continent. My stories go around travel, nature and all kinds of adventurous activities.

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