Shadows tell us where we are in space.

It’s a coolish, brilliantly sunny day today in the neighborhood. I had a handful of errands to run so I scooped up Goldie, slid her into the back seat of my car, and we stopped at the polo fields in Quechee for a walk. And she actually walked. In fact, I got her to chase a couple of golf balls I found embedded in the grass.

I spotted this pinecone just as we started off, and tossed it onto the windshield of my car to retrieve when we returned. In case you haven’t noticed, I love trees, every part of them so picking up a pine cone just adds to the natural decor that embellishes my desk.

When I placed it on a shelf by a window in order to take this picture, I became more fascinated by the shadow than the cone. Other than Peter Pan losing his, I don’t think we notice how important shadows are to our perception.

Without them, we would not see the contours of faces, the shape of land or the movement of grasses.

Think about that. Shadows give our world its shape and texture.

I’ve become fascinated by the idea of shadows lately because I’ve been working on a quilt book that features that most traditional of blocks—the Nine Patch. Most of the time, Nine Patch blocks are sewn from at least two fabrics with a great deal of contrast between them. I’m exploring the uses of minimal contrast, Shadow Nines I call them.

I’m coming around the corner with the top’s construction, and will post a few pix of the product-in-process a bit later.

Author of the Carding, Vermont novels, quilt books, and book publishing guides.