The first footprints in the sand inspire me to philosophize on life
I love the opportunity to make the first footprints – the only footprints – on the beach. I find I need to be up very early in the morning, or I need to have the time to get to the beaches where other people don’t generally go, so it doesn’t happen very often.
There is an almost melancholy beauty to looking back down the expanse of sand and seeing the marks of where only I have walked. An awareness of a small individual in a much greater world. An analogy for how far the journey has taken me, and the waiting to retrace those same steps to get back home.
But what I like to think about most is the loveliness of impermanence. These footprints are not always steady. They are often messy and even spoil the look of an unblemished beach. It is the same in my day-to-day travelling. Sometimes I mess up, sometimes I act in ways that I regret. I may meander rather than get to my destination, which is occasionally ok but more often just procrastination. The deeper prints of running feet may illustrate my trying to leave behind the things I’d rather not face. Or the imprint which reveals a truncated walk and the shape of my backside where I gave up and just sat in the sand.
But soon the tide returns and all traces of my having been there will be gone. The tide swirls in with life and power and washes the beach pristine again. Twice each day there is the opportunity to have an unmarked canvas and a fresh palette.
I’d like to be in a tidal habit of twice each day taking that deep rhythmic breath, maybe forgiving myself, allowing myself to start again feeling washed and cleansed.
Ready to run out joyfully and make a whole new set of footprints.