Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Coming & Going

 I've often thought of what marks we make on this world, what record we leave behind. For most of us, those marks are pretty slight.
 Even as a kid, I'd pick up a rock and throw it and wonder when that same rocks was last handled (if ever) and whether it might ever again be moved by human hands. How many rocks did I throw as a kid which remain right where they fell? Most, I'll bet.
 Our footsteps are about the same: they fall on grass or dry soil and leave no mark at all. Sometimes they're made in mud and seem almost cast in stone until the next rain. Unlike the dinosaurs whose heavy footfalls occasionally fell on volcanic ash, soon to harden for the ages, our own weak footsteps seldom last a week.
 I think there's little beyond the written word that outlasts us. Yes, there's the random pyramid (a testament to pride), the Taj Mahal (a testament to love) or a majestic cathedral (a testament to God) that outlast the architects, but even these are few and rare. In time, the eons will get even these, crumbling steadily if imperceptably, a little at a time.
 Then I am even less concerned about footsteps left in snow. Even so, I have to admire them for the day.

 I am out as the sun rises. It's just 19° and there's a gentle breeze from the north. I place my bare hand against my cheek as long as I can and then I have to place it in my pocket to warm. I see yesterday's footsteps - my own - going back the lane and coming back out. There are no tire tracks to mar the way. I am the only one who has been this way since Sunday.

 I suppose it is  my own pride that causes me to marvel at these shoe prints. Though no one else has walked or driven here in days, the animals have been out and about through the night. A cleft-footed deer has passed this way in the nighttime cold, a thin moon setting in the west early in the night. Rabbits crisscross the drive at random. Birds peck here and there, leave odd-angled trails that seem without direction, often ellipses with a dragging tail.
 In another few hours, when the sun has shone here with its increasing angle, all of these tracks will be gone.
 My advice: leave behind a journal, some written record that you passed this way. Hope that it says something worthwhile. Nothing else of yourself will last beyond your days. The future suns conspire to melt your feeble marks away. They melt like the snow.

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