Asymmetry list in F # – Software Engineering Stack Exchange

I am testing F # for the first time with little theoretical knowledge of previous functional programming.

I have written a small function to calculate the simple moving average in a list. Here it is:

let's rec sma n data =
let length = List.length data
if the length is <n then the data
another thing (data from sma n.[..length-2]@ [List.average data.[length - n .. ]]

I was not really satisfied with this result. It seems awkward, and I've expected a more elegant solution, but I could not find it. Then I had a crazy idea, and I did it the other way around. I have calculated SMA by starting in the list and moving forward:

let's rec sma n data =
if List.length data <n then data
otherwise the data in the list.[.. n-1] :: sma n data.Tail

That's what I like the most, that's what I've been waiting for. But why can not I do it iterating from the beginning?

According to the F # documentation (, I can easily refer to the first item in the list (Head) and the rest of the list (Tail), and I can use the :: operator to create a list by adding a new element at the beginning. However, I do not have a similar way of referring to the last element, or to the list without the last element, nor do I have an operator to create a list by adding a new element at the end.

Why does this asymmetry exist? I learned a bit about Haskell in college, and I think it was symmetrical from the perspective.