Walking on the pavement, we forget what lies beneath. Our feet only need a plain surface.
Only children see the gaps cracks and grains of sand between the slabs, the moss. Only children will be turning the gaps and slabs into a game of where to step and where not to step. We ignore that, we just walk. We don’t notice the crystallites in the slabs of concrete, the grains of sand, with their maritime or windy history. We don’t think about the sand below it, the electricity and communication cables, the water and tubes and sewers, the subway tunnels, the remains of medieval or Stone Age settlements, the clay or ice age gravel beneath it. There might be sediments from ten or a hundred million years ago, Devonian fossils that nobody is ever going to see, traces of age old histories written on top of each other, partially erased and rewritten again, that nobody might ever be reading. There might be water and slow-living microorganisms. Somewhere down there is bed rock, granite or basalt, and beneath it, half molten rocks, like olivine whose green shimmer we are never going to see. Still further down there is a churning ball of iron swimming inside liquid rock and metal. Only where the rock comes to the surface do we get a glimpse of all the unseen beauty. The cliffs and rocks are like windows into that unseen world, but we will pass them without noticing.
Walking on the pavement, we forget what lies beneath.