So I normally run in the morning, but this time I ran in the early evening. After a few laps a little kid appeared and scuttled a lap around the field. Then a guy with a labrador walked up from the creek and jogged behind me for a portion of a lap. By this time the kid had stopped running and was playing on the playground equipment. I was still following my usual track around the field, noticing that it was becoming a distinct track (the grass was becoming worn down) – a bit like Richard Long’s 1967 work, “A Line Made by Walking”, but less regular and following the boundaries of the park.

At some point or other, as I often do, I lost count of the laps. One thing I hate about running around the park is counting the laps. I’m meant to do 12, but am almost never sure whether I have done 12 or one more or one less. The problem involves the issue of counting from one. The first lap is not a whole lap – does not properly represent the number one – until the lap is finished, but I still can’t help thinking of it as the number one from the moment that I begin the lap. So it becomes easy, for instance, to lose track of whether I am on lap 9 or whether this is actually lap 8 and will only become 9 when I finish the current lap. When this happens I have to make a choice. I must opt for either the higher or the lower number – whichever seems more likely – and so can never be sure whether I have completed more or less than my allocated 12 laps. The most minor distraction can lead to this dilemma – a kid mimicking my laps, a guy jogging with a labrador, thoughts about the increasing distinctness of the track, whatever.

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