Insubstantial Chains of Self-Criticism

At nine o’clock in the morning, serrated leaves resting against the fence receive the signature of dark steel lines. With emboldened chains eclipsing the more delicate rows of veins, diamond shapes define the screen of the leaf-surface, imposing fence patterns on what should grow free.

But the fence’s shadow, looping and stamping itself at nine, will be gone by noon, leaving the victorious leaf unchained. After all, it never asked to be cast in a shadow play. Nor did the plant sign a lease with the barricade that straddles its roots. Its only desire is to rise from the soil in peace.

The branding of links is impermanent, for a seemingly solid fence in the morning becomes a shadow of itself as the day wanes. This natural example of shifting solar angles gives me hope that self-limiting patterns are actually phantom barriers that can dissolve like so many shadow-chains. The bruising self-criticism I often cast may not be the iron shackle of truth I assume it is.

Instead of believing the distorted thoughts that cage me with anxiety, let me call them out and watch them melt into nothing with the passage of the sun. Challenge the cruelty that holds me back from loving myself. And hold fast to what illuminates, such as visions of leaves that transform fences into natural trellises, those limitless shelters that dapple and shine.

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