Have you ever walked through a pile of leaves, then looked behind you to see what kind of trail you left? How about walking through the snow? Ever looked to see where your footprints landed? Were you surprised at how much you scuff your heels on the ground? Are you the kind of person who is aware that other people are behind you when you go through a door so you hold the door open for them?
I recently spent some time in CT seeing my 94 year old dad. He is starting to spend more time in two worlds, this one and the one in his mind. I can’t follow him through the door of the other one, I can only hope to share time with him when he’s in this one. That requires some extraordinary patience on my part, waiting for him to form his thoughts, then waiting for him to put his thoughts into words. Often this is a slow, yet creative endeavor, for he is no longer able to pull words out of the hat in the way that he did for most of his life. Mind you, he can still beat me at Scrabble, it’s just that he is unable to come up with simple sentences to explain what he is thinking. I find I spend my time thinking about what came before, what he was like a few years ago, what he would have said about Donald Trump running for president…and I feel sad. But when I look back at my footsteps of this weekend, I feel that I left behind good feelings, a connection that my father enjoyed, even if he won’t remember all of it.
While I was in CT, I walked on the old railway tracks that were turned into a walking path many years ago. This path runs behind the house that my parents owned. I took pictures of the path ahead, and the one behind me. I took the time to make my homage to Andy Goldsworthy. There are some new benches on the trail and I thought one of them needed to be adorned by the seed pods that decorate the pathway at this time of year.
P.S. As I was writing this post in my head, the events in Paris (and Beirut and Egypt) unraveled and I feel that I must write a postlude of sorts. While I am the type of person who looks behind me to see what my presence has left on this earth, I can’t even fathom the idea of doing so and seeing dead bodies. My mind will not wrap itself around this image. Causing pain, discomfort and death is such an anathema to me that I cannot even begin t0 understand the life experiences that can lead some to do this willingly. However, I also know that if I am not careful, I can absorb the pain and chaos of the last few days into my psyche and become debilitated in my creativity. So to counterattack this, I offer you one last image of what Izzy thinks about all of this.