The Bird Woman’s shadow gathered its skirts and made room on the bench for Jane and Michael.
“My!” she exclaimed, as her arms went round them. “You’re solid and no mistake!”
“That’s because we’re real,” said Jane
“Bones and toe-nails and hair and blood,” Michael kindly informed her.
“Ah!” The Bird Woman’s shadow nodded. “I expect you ‘ad a Special Ticket. It isn’t everyone gets the chance. But you’re not tellin’ me—are you, lovies?—that shadders isn’t real?”
“Well—they go through things. And they’re made of nothing——” Jane tried to explain.
“Nothin’s made of nothin’, lovey. And that’s what they’re for—to go through things. Through and out on the other side—it’s why they get to be wise. You take my word for it, my loves, when you know what your shadder knows—then you know a lot. Your shadder’s the other part of you, the outside of your inside—if you understand what I mean.”
—from “Hallowe’en,” p. 239
in the book Mary Poppins in the Park, by P. L. Travers
“Here’s to the things that are true, which is an interesting stance in an age when every man, and every woman, does what is right in their own eyeballs. Its comical to me that on Groundhog Day, when at least some of the population is still fixated on a rodent’s shadow, that most of us are quite oblivious to our own, shadows that is. I believe it was in the writings of Robert Bly where I first came across the concept of shadow – those long repressed aspects of our personality that, after we pass a certain age, start to show themselves. Bly’s encouragement is to be-friend your shadow, and one way to do that is by using careful, physical language. I think about that when I see one of those bucolic scenes with a quote superimposed on it, something that sounds oh so spiritual but I usually find myself thinking But what in the world does that mean? Yep, a lotta un-friended shadow running ruinous in our nation that is no longer one.”
“But I didn’t think shadows could feel,” said Jane.
“Not feel! What nonsense!” cried Mrs. Corry. “They feel twice as much as you do. I warn you, children, take care of your shadows or your shadows won’t take care of you.”
—from “Hallowe’en,” p. 228
in her book Mary Poppins in the Park, by P. L. Travers