As I walked along the Embarcadero in San Francisco a few months ago, enjoying the morning light, I saw an incline on the pavement (or, to use lingo appropriate for the region, the sidewalk); an edge on which I felt tempted to walk. I was reminded of childhood: the impulse to walk on the edge of a pavement, placing foot after foot, trying to balance.
I recalled this moment on a walk to one of my favourite cafés. I looked down to the ground without any pavements enarby and once again felt that impulse. Could I walk on the edge of a pavement nearby? I tested myself, not on a pavement but rather on walking in a straight line on the border of a pavement and paved stones. The terrain was mostly flat. I was attracted to walking only on the line.
Similarly, as a child, I enjoyed trying to avoid lines on pavements. Two games were available on pavements: walk on a straight line or try to avoid all of the lines. There being no goal other than the challenge unto itself. No arbiter other than myself. No prize other than the satisfaction that I had been able to complete the challenge for the duration decided by me as appropriate. I find myself wondering whether I should practice my balancing on pavement skills, a thought that brings me a little bit of joy.