It’s a warm sunny day and you are walking by the side of the road, you choose a side of the road that is shadier than the other this happens unconsciously and here I term it as shadow walking (Not to be confused by the shadow blending technique used by a ninja (^_~)).
We learn to walk in a very early age, but even before we walk we are acquainted with a sense of direction to take in-order to reach a target.
It can be observed that when you are walking from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’, you will almost always tend to take the shortest path if not for a shadiest path on a very sunny day. Shadows have been a mystery for several generations of scientists. Though there are several descriptions on the science behind the principle of formation of shadows, there still remain several explanations on what effects shadows have on our lives. We tend to over look several of such aspects.
The choice of a path we take while walking depends on intention for walking as well as environmental and surrounding factors such as level of traffic, presence/absence of ditch by the side of the road, time of the day, number of houses with dogs inside the compound that regularly bark when a stranger goes by, etc.
Why particularly dedicate a post to shadow walking?
I have observed that depending on the intensity of sun’s heat, the number of times a person crosses a road varies. If there are large gaps between shadier sides of the road, then the person maintains a path that will keep him in the shade at the most. This behaviour tends to override our natural behaviour to continue in the shortest path. If the weather is not that warm then the number or road cross for the same terrain significantly comes down.
The speed of walking in the shadowed region depends on the distance covered so far as well as the Line of sight distance of the road still left to cover on the same path.
Age severely affects this factor. Older people tend to stick to the shortest path no matter what. The behaviour of other animals to this phenomenon is not yet conclusively studied, however similar results are expected.
From history we learn that Great emperors such as Ashoka used to plant trees by the side of the read so that travellers could take sufficient rest while taking long journeys.
The shadow of an object at any time of the day is influenced by the position of the sun, this is what makes people take different paths to the same destination.
I remember watching one special episode of ‘The Mask’ where people loose their shadows and start aging rapidly. There is even an episode in ‘Duck Tales’ where Magica gives life to her shadow, and the shadow tries to overthrow her. Shadow arts fascinate me even today.
To make sure that they remain in shade, taking an umbrella with you is a good practice. This also comes in handy in case there are chances of rain (^_^).