Archive | Light & Shadow (Issue #7)

Hello Dear Friend by Fabrice Poussin


Going back West had been a strong desire for quite some time. Many others make that part of the United States their summer destination as well. People from a great number of countries from around the world. Some of the National Parks are their aim, fewer are the National Monuments, and fewer yet those whose access is limited by unpaved roads. It is an experience I had in the last century, and now I can see why I may repeat it next year.

As I show in a photograph entitled “Entry,” one has to find his way in, but more than that has to find a way to let it all in, to give it the recognition it is due, to be ready to commune with some of the origins of all things earthly.

Those locales are rugged places to say the least, dangerous in some instances, and certainly risky when one is not careful as to where he walks, runs, or drives. But as “Charm” reminds us, this is not about the small details which may arise a sense of fear in us, it is about the overall image we can get and that is one which is overwhelmingly endearing.

Settling in of course would be a challenge, a great one at that, for those who first decided to live in those unforgiving territories. One may feel a sense of isolation as we see in “Alone,” yet in our day and age there is a great sense of comfort to be felt in the safety that nature offers.

But those are not just tourist attractions, not just backgrounds against which one may snap a few selfies, they are home to the many who, by choice, and sometimes not, have found that there is no other place for them. In “Hoping,” we are reminded that the rains do come in those desert lands, and that life does sprout from the most unlikely soils.

Traveling through the harshest lands in America, and ultimately reaching the higher elevations, one has to be surprised at the “Fertility,” which prevails. Lush plains and meadows where the bears may mingle with the deer and occasionally cattle, make it clear that if life struggles at times, it is in fact always victorious in close proximity to the most difficult climates.

The Earth is a “Monument” in itself, but what I find most amazing is those drastically different scenes coexisting within just a few miles from each other. One may pan the horizon with a gaze and find a completely opposite panorama, either a mountain range, or a perfectly flat plain, and let’s not forget the deepest canyons. The American West is the place for those earthly symbols, monuments to the making of a world.

Finally, as a visitor and lover of the scenery, the experience would not be complete without feeling the moment when night comes, or when daylight returns. These are the themes of “To The Night,” and “Warmth.” The darkness brings many mysteries with it, as unseen lives take over the land, but it also covers the sites in a welcome freshness so all things may rest, and find a new energy for the next day.

‘Warmth” is carried over the mountain tops, into the valleys, accompanied by the sweet dew of morning, and the life of the viewer is too renewed.

To have walked on the paths depicted in these images is to have become part of the scenery, to have one’s memories inscribed in them forever, and to be able to remember them for the emotions they brought about when I was there. No other humans were present in any of the photographs; it was a perfect time of solitude, and it was the ideal moment to commune with the place that sustains us, to look up to the stars, and be humbled by this limitless universe. We owe it our existence, and we must, from time to time, make a pilgrimage to at least say hello to this dearest friend.

About the Author & Photographer: Fabrice Poussin

Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and dozens of other magazines.

His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review and more than 250 other publications.

Welcome to Issue #7: Light & Shadow

“I see only forms that are lit up and forms that are not. There is only light and shadow.”
~ Francisco Goya

You open your eyes to a sunny day, and notice that the light is changing along with the seasons.

You change the way you’re standing in front of the mirror, letting the changes in light and shadow change the way your see yourself.

You turn your back to the sun, and see the shadow you cast on the ground. You turn around, face into the glare, and your shadow disappears.

You wake in the middle of a moonlight night, see the shadows of tree branches on the blinds.

You unleash your imagination and let the branches become the limbs of strange beings from other worlds.

You grow and change and come to realize that both light and shadows come in many flavors. You learn that light isn’t always ‘good’ and shadows aren’t always ‘bad,’ but that each gives dimension to the other.

You snap a photo, paint or draw a picture, write a scene, compose a song, and you find beauty in the contrast.

“Our job is to record, each in his own way, this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today.”
~ Edward Abbey

Welcome to the 7th issue of Modern Creative Life:
Light & Shadow

When we planned the calendar for this year’s themes, we had no idea we’d be launching this issue on the day when much of North America will be witnessing a solar eclipse. Still, it seems as though the universe was – is – in synch with us as we make the transition from summer toward fall (or from winter toward spring).

For me, light and shadow aren’t opposites, but companions. Without one the other has little meaning.

As makers, as creators, we explore both, we appreciate both. We use the shadows in our lives to give the light times more dimension, and we embrace the light when the shadows encroach too far, or seem too dark. Art, in all its forms, is full of, and formed by, this duality.

We invite you to explore it with us.

In this issue, you’ll get a peek into the daily lives of other creative folk in our Studio Tours and Typical Tuesday series, and meet people walking fascinating creative pathways in Conversations Over Coffee. With photos and fiction, poetry and prompts, essays and enlightenment, you’ll find a deeper understanding into all the ways in which we all create.

“Life is a mixture of light and shadow, calm and storm, and it’s all good.”
~ Susan W. Krebs

As always, our mission at Modern Creative Life is to honor the pursuit and practice of joyful creativity. We believe that the creative arts enrich our everyday living, enhance our environment, create lasting connections, and sustain our souls. Please join us as we look to other creatives for ways in which they find peace in the shadows, or succor in the sunshine.

As we share the stories of other makers, we invite you to use their experiences as a guide on your quest for your own Modern Creative Life.

What lessons might you have to share with the world? Share your stories with us, serving as the example for others to learn from, and inspire them to explore the light and shadows in their own lives. We are open to single contributions as well as new regular contributors. Email us at

About the author: Melissa A. Bartell

Melissa is a writer, voice actor, podcaster, itinerant musician, voracious reader, and collector of hats and rescue dogs. She is the author of The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Holiday Tub. You can learn more about her on her blog, or connect with her on on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


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