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The Long Shadow

"The end of the day is near when small men make long shadows."
- Confucius

"Without the past to cast its long shadow, might you see the future more clearly?"
- Diane Setterfield

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The Long Shadow
Have you ever been out in the woods late afternoon and witnessed the elongated shadows of the trees? In the right kind of light its surreal! Your own shadow can stretch to 20 feet or more!

The title of this tune to me evokes quite a few powerful images and historical metaphors—especially currently as we as a country, as a culture and collectively as mankind have had to cope with the long shadow of the coronavirus. The pandemic has reeked havoc on our world, tragically claiming millions of lives and forcing a stifling quarantine isolating normal positive human interaction.

Of course we can look back throughout history and see numerous other examples of long shadows casting misery and darkness: (1) the rise of fascism in 20th century Europe; (2) the decimation and cultural annihilation of Native America by disease when the New World was "discovered"; (3) the bubonic plague in the Late Middle Ages, etc. Sadly, the list can go on forever. Life on Planet Earth is filled with turmoil and struggles. Some say these society-changing events are Mother Nature's way of resetting the balance of mankind's overreach and self-indulgence. Perhaps...

This composition features the trombone and electric piano. Although it starts in a minor key, the tune fluctuates between major and minor throughout and ends in major. As the saying goes "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Both in Nature and for mankind, adaptation and resilience has been the key to survival. Those with faith and optimism hold on to the hope that tomorrow will be better. History has proven that—in the long run—that will be true: there will be sunshine once again after so much darkness. The somewhat brisk tempo and final major Bbadd9 chord reflect that same hopefulness.


Confucius (551–479 BC) was a Chinese philosopher. His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity. Confucius is widely considered as one of the most important and influential individuals in shaping human history. His teaching and philosophy greatly impacted people around the world and remains influential today.