Footprints (HLD 275)

22 Dec 2020

I have a file full of notes, containing ideas that may be used in a future bit of literary diarrhoea. When I hear or see something that I find a bit interesting, I make a note of it and eventually I may connect it up with another idea, and diarrhoea emerges. If you know what I mean.

For a while now I’ve had a quote written there that I vaguely recall being made to or by the incoming Vice President of America. But, in my diligent and stringent fact checking that I do before each edition of HLD (cough, cough), I can’t find any reference to it anywhere.

But – particularly because I’m assigning the quote to a politician, let’s not let facts get in the way of the story. I say that the quote was made about women making their mark on the world, and whether or not it was the incoming VP who made it or not…. someone did, and I wrote it down. Let’s move on.

The quote was “Everything ahead of you is wet cement, for you to put your footprints into”.

While I acknowledge the intent of the quote, urging this person whether of the female gender or not, to make their mark on the world, I kind of got distracted by the mental image of someone trying to Wade their way through never ending wet cement. It doesn’t sound like something I’d look forward to with any degree of enthusiasm.

It would destroy your shoes, if nothing else.

This afternoon we spent some time walking along the beach with the dog. I spent a lot of my time turning around watching my footprints disappear in the waves. The dog thought I was stupid, but that’s not the topic for today!

Floating through my head, while I was walking backwards along the beach, was also the knowledge of Tibetan monks creating sand mandalas. Beautiful intricate artwork that would be removed as if washed away with the tide.

Like my footprints on the sand, the magic of the sand mandala is the not about what remains, it’s about the process. The sand mandala process is equally weighted between the creation and the destruction. My footprints would not be visible if everyone-and-their-dogs footprints remained on the beach. The connection of pristine sand and water, fresh air and the sound of the waves – that’s what goes into the making of my sandy footprint.

It doesn’t matter that the footprint doesn’t stay. I was there, I left a fleeting mark on the sand, I connected indelibly with the environment, and I remember it.

Wet cement would be much harder to clean out of the car, by the way!

Feel free to look up sand mandalas – they are incredible.

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