place himself <adversely to the shadow> of the palm trees

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Senior Member
Hi, everyone.
Could you tell me what the line in bold means? And why did the writer call his lying under the shadow of palm trees in the desert stupidity?
He had made the sacrifice of his life. His last thought was one of regret. He
repented having left the Maugrabins, whose nomadic life seemed to smile
upon him now that he was far from them and without help. He was awakened
by the sun, whose pitiless rays fell with all their force on the granite
and produced an intolerable heat--for he had had the stupidity to place
himself adversely to the shadow thrown by the verdant majestic heads
of the palm trees.

Source; , Passion in the desert by Honorè de Balzac.
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