Each day is a tightrope - you balance, just, trying to keep your frame upright and continuous along a thin path that wobbles and quivers as you inch forward. All you have to keep righted is a long baton that spreads the weight of each move across evenly, helping you to move one foot in front of the other; and a degree of confidence or fear that forces you to continue what you've started.
I'm looking out at train tracks from the back of a train. I can see the rails stretching backwards where I've come from. Although it's a set path, I like the points of intersection, I like the fact that on this most precise of transports there are moments where there are choices - good or bad, moments where you can see the direction you came from and yet be aware of routes you might have taken.
I have a second of reflection, of where I am and why I am. I look at the tracks and see my choices, my memories are the rungs of the tracks: my early copying of the Beano, my first oil painting, mountains in the snow, beach cricket (soz Dave), early morning over the Alps, Aber in the sun, beer doodles, Victorian libraries, cartoon hours, La Lupa meals, Rome at night, Tynemouth walks, a wedding in the wind, New York breakfasts, sunset outside the Santa Crocce, the Bigg Market, the Haymarket, and a few winter markets; many, many pubs and restaurants, and not a few mistakes.
A life has texture, nuance and shade. It cannot easily be judged or defined. Neither can it be lauded or condemed on the basis of one rung in the track. The journey continues onwards, and though it is fun and salutary to look over the marks left behind, it is necessary to clear the sleep, the tear or even the make up from the eyes, and turn to look again to the front.
Take a breath, relax the weight to spread it evenly, let the centre of gravity fall to the hips and use the strength of the shoulders to hold you steady, focus straight ahead, and step.