I should have never looked at the shadow. Looking at the shadow was my downfall. Moreover, it was my own shadow--my unique joint creation with the sun--that slowed the workout and sent my jump rope smacking into my shins. When I should have focused on the real rope as it circled around my jumping body, I instead looked to the shadow rope, and while it was an almost accurate representation of reality, it was off just enough to throw my groove.
As I stood there, holding the jump rope and catching my breath in the warmth of the sunny parking lot, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the physicality of my existence. The air was still, the birds were singing, and Utah finally felt like spring. It looked like spring. It smelled like spring. Why had I looked to a shadow when I had an entire world of reality around me? And, as if to prove to myself that I am, in fact, an English nerd, my thoughts immediately drifted to Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End. The characters in the novel look to shadows--overlays of reality--so often that they forget what is real. I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm over two-thirds of the way through, and I anticipate this inability to differentiate between what is real and what is virtual, this inability to see shadows for what they really are, will lead to blunders more grievous than the jump rope against my shins.