I am just in time for the train from St. Pancras. St Pancras: a Roman teenager beheaded for his beliefs. First class at the back of the train is declassified. The secret of this subtle declassification is spreading: it’s crowded here.
It’s dark now, the battery in my headlight is weak. A hesitant start on the road. Will the cars see me? Is the reflective vest reflective enough?
I walk as the watch finds its GPS signal, then run. I decide it’s safer on the road now than when it isn’t dark. Cars slow down, the reflective jacket does its job. Off-road I can just about see a step in front of me. Muscles and knees feel tense. The natural collaboration between legs stepping and mind processing is disturbed. Some steps jar against an unexpected lump or drop into an invisible depression.
I know the way well, but not well enough to orient myself. The transitions from one suface to another are startling, events signifcant in the dark are trivial in the light of day. Frequent pauses are required to check for the right turn.
A long wait to find a gap in traffic. The approaching cars look close to each other, linked by their headbeams and speed, but end up being far enough apart for a crossing. Still it’s better to wait.
Robert Musil writes in his “Der Mann Ohne Eigenschaften” that the greatest progress is made when the direction isn’t clear. It is possible to overstate the importance of goals. Besides, when you listen to people explain their successes many of the goals achieved are goals constructed not in the dark at the beginning, but in the emerging light of hindsight.