A Goat Path

May 10, 2010

Walking across campus, caught up in my own thoughts, I looked down and realized that I wasn’t walking on the sidewalk, but on a more direct path that cut across the lawn. I’ve heard of using these goat paths to plot out walkways on campuses, and I like the idea; but, on an ever-expanding one-hundred-year-old campus, it’s more practical to simply design walkways. Regardless, people will find their own ways to get from here to there.

I didn’t even know I was taking that path until I was halfway to my destination; and I found something comforting in the thought that we humans may tend to find our own best way from point to point. Imposed structure from without, while it organizes things in a way that makes sense in a right-angley kind of way, isn’t necessarily the best way. And so, it’s comforting as well to know that I can walk towards a place I rarely go and find myself treading on the footsteps of others.

A nice thing… intuitively seeking out the most efficient route, and realizing that it takes more effort to resist it that to follow it.

4 Responses to “A Goat Path”

  1. I can see both constraint and liberation, depending on one’s nature or mood. Having grown up near some country dairy farms, it always interested me to see the seemingly too narrow paths winding around hills going from point A to B. It occasioned some still moments for me considering it, the whys and wherefores for a contemplative 10-year-old. There was some intuitive cow nature choices made that made those sliced contours work in the most efficient way. Bipeds follow the same rules, but I think it is done without over-thinking or over-planning when it comes out the best way, tracing paths that become art.

  2. I’m a huge fan of continuity in human nature. Some people get annoyed when they head into uncharted territory and find evidence that someone has been there before. I find a kind of solace in the fact that somebody, somewhere, sometime, had the same inclination I did.

    Thanks for reminding me.

  3. Gary Spykman said

    What Lorraine said…

    True originality is impossible. Everything we do is derivative and built on the work of others, as that work was also. This is good and necessary for any kind of progress.

    Oh, and extra points for “right-angley”.

  4. kenhoney said

    Makes me wonder why we need the paved paths at all.

    Don’t answer that. I understand why. I’m just sayin’.

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