Intriguing paths

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A path invites you to follow it. Of course, a path is not alive in itself, it is created by living things moving over the land; a path is a memory imprinted upon the land itself. Every creature that follows the path is reinforcing that memory.

Some paths have an obvious destination, such as the garden path to the shed. Other paths run through parks or forests and connect, fork and join with other paths. But one kind of path is very intriguing: a path that starts clear and distinct but then becomes smaller and overgrown, dwindling and fading until it disappears altogether into dense vegetation. The existence of such a path is all the more curious if it at no point does it branch from or join with any other path. Why does it fade then stop? Do people who followed the first part simply turn back, or do they end up taking different routes, creating a continuum of invisible paths? Even if one of these obvious explanations is the case, it is still interesting, is it not, that so many people embark on the path in the first place when they cannot know where it is it goes? If they did know, they would know it goes nowhere and so they wouldn’t follow it and so the start of the path wouldn’t exist. Such paths exist because of human curiosity – some of us have an innate desire to follow a path with an unknown destination.

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One Response to “Intriguing paths”

  1. gantrix Says:

    I completely agree and have often thought on this matter. I suspect that most often there was formerly a through path but through disuse it has become overgrown and obscured.

    Let us think for one minute of the point where you are standing not as an ‘end’ but as a ‘beginning’. It appears as if the path ends, however were we to fight onwards through the bush we might find an extant section further ahead. Dashes in a dashed line, as it were. In this case, if you were observing from that ‘dash’ ahead, when you see me suddenly burst from the woods on to your section all sorts of similar questions could be raised – why is the path not continuous?; how do people know it is here?

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