By Charlie Peters with Elizabeth Hobbs
Once there was a little shadow and a little light. The little shadow lived in the land of shadow and the little light lived in the land of light. The little shadow and the little light had never met because nobody from either land ever went to visit the other.
One day, the little shadow was feeling adventurous. And so was the little light. Without telling any of the other lights or shadows, the little light set off for the land of shadow and the little shadow set off for the land of light.
Both were scared. They each knew the stories. Lights were forbidden in the land of shadow and shadows were not allowed to pass into the land of light. It had been this way for 1000 years. Each had been told stories of how different, how dangerous, how terrible the other land was. That is why 1000 years ago a great, tall wall had been built between them.
“I’ll be the first of my kind to see the other side in 1000 years,” each thought to themself.
As they walked across their respective lands, they each noticed the landscape around the changing. But each thought, this is still my land.
At last, they each arrived at the forbidden wall that separated the two realms. They climbed and climbed, each on their own side. When they got to the top and poked their heads over the wall they caught sight of each other and froze. No shadow or light had looked the other in the eye for 1000 years.
They approached each other slowly at the top of the wall. Neither had seen the others’ people before. Each was scared of the other. Slowly, they nodded to each other. Then smiled.
As they each looked past the other to the land they had never seen, a place cut off by the great, tall wall, it hit them both. The lands were not different at all. The land of shadow and the land of light looked the same at the base of the wall.
It was only from the height of the wall that one could see that each land was a gradient. The land of light got dimmer and dimmer the nearer you got to the wall and the land of shadow got dimmer and dimmer as you went away from the wall. On either side, the lands were identical.
In that moment the little shadow and the little light realized that they were not separate but the same. Not all light is equally bright and not all shadows equally intense. As they became friends over many years, they grew to learn that lights cast shadows and shadows define light. They grew into wise people, teaching others what they had learned. Eventually, the great, tall wall was torn down and the land of light and the land of shadows became a peaceful, united place.