Finding Balance: The Faun, the Shadow, and the Song

Whether we are chasing our dreams, running from our past, or looking for our futures, we are in constant movement through the unknown moments of life. Time is relative; it can ostensibly move quickly and make a day feel like an hour, or it can seemingly move slowly and make an hour feel like a day. With the semester coming to an end, time seems to be moving rather hurriedly along as we try to finalize our assignments and begin looking forward to a few weeks of relaxation before the new semester starts.

Oscar Wilde’s poem “In the Forest” always reminds me of the bustle that occurs at the end of the fall semester, with final exams and papers, and the excitement of the upcoming holidays surrounding our Decembers. The poem begins with the mention of a Faun leading the speaker through the woods by stating, “out of the mid-wood’s twilight / into the meadow’s dawn, / ivory limbed and brown-eyed, / flashes my Faun!” The imagery in these lines allows the reader to picture the speaker’s journey through the forest. The mention of the Faun is symbolic of a lost traveler seeking their path through life. The speaker then continues by stating, “he skips through the copses singing, / and his shadow dances along, / and I know not which I should follow, / shadows or song!” In these lines, the shadows and the songs can be perceived as a metaphor for distractions through life; will you follow the shadow and find the light leading to the fulfillment of your dreams, or will you become distracted by the temptation of fun and freedom contained in music. The speaker concludes by stating, “O Hunter, snare me his shadow! / O Nightingale, catch me his strain! / Else moonstruck with music and madness / I track him in vain!” If you allow yourself to be diverted by the music, you may lose your direction.

Oscar Wilde’s poem “In the Forest” conveys that balance is important. If you are constantly chasing after a shadow in order to stay on the path to your future, you will miss out of the fun aspects of life. Similarly, if you always allow yourself to be diverted by the music while forgetting to follow the path, you will become lost in the darkness of the forest. In order to succeed, one needs to find the balance between following the road to success and taking the time to relax and have fun. As this semester comes to an end, we are busy trying to find our way out of the forest, but in just a couple of weeks, we will be enjoying the holidays and some much needed time off.

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj


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