Several blogs that I read have riffed around the idea of a desire line.
A desire line is a path developed by erosion caused by animal or human footfall. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. The width and amount of erosion of the line represents the amount of demand.
They are manifested on the surface of the earth in certain cases, e.g., as dirt pathways created by people walking through a field, when the original movement by individuals helps clear a path, thereby encouraging more travel. Explorers may tread a path through foliage or grass, leaving a trail “of least resistance” for followers.
I was struck by the similarity of the idea of a ‘shul’ which I came across in A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit (an anagram of lost in…?), but which she was quoting from Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor.
“Emptiness” said the Tibetan philosopher Tsongkhapa, in 1397, ~is the track on which the centered person moves.” The word he uses for track is shul. This term is defined as “an impression”: a mark that remains after that which made it has passed by-a footprint, for example. In other contexts, shul is used to describe the scarred hollow in the ground where a house once stood, the channel worn through rock where a river runs in flood, the indentation in the grass where an animal slept last night. All these are shul: the impression of something that used to be there.
A path is a shul because it is an impression in the ground left by the regular tread of feet, which has kept it clear of obstructions and maintained it for the use of others.