In this 1984 photo of my parents helping their first grandchild learn to walk, he appears fascinated with the shadows on the sidewalk in front of them.
It reminded me of this poem by Robert Louis Stevenson from “A Child’s Garden of Verses” (I still have my copy from childhood . . . do you?):
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from te heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.