Isn't it interesting how the mind works? I just got back this evening from a tough peak scramble north of Tokyo. On the way down I was watching how others took their steps negotiating the very steep, razor-sharp stone jumbled trail. And I watched my own steps and concentration to see where I walked lightly and where I tripped over the rocks. If I, like so many of the inexperienced walkers I saw today, kept my mind on the possibility of a fall and injury, I inevitably tripped up and had to scold myself back into stepping back from myself. As long as I let go and simply saw the trail as a kind of stairway I was able to pretty much effortlessly make it down the inclines and find routes without a misstep.
It had something to do with the shoes, too. Being very light (and everyone else wore heavy leather mountain climbing boots) I couldn't afford to simply come crashing down on the rock cracks, I had to step gingerly and be aware of where my feet were, but also where and how my whole body was positioned. Sometimes, when I felt cocky, like when on several occasions a really beautiful woman would come walking up past me, I dashed down the trail, and somewhere the rocks would slip right out from under me and plant me on my butt. Funny how rocks seem to know just when to do that...
PS. Stargazer... I loved your Melville quote!