Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

In the Absence of Footprints

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
The image of footsteps tamped into the damp strip of sand just before the water is one of great significance to our culture. Footsteps fading into the waves, waves fading gently into the sky: a symbol that adorns posters and postcards alike, and that decorates our doors and walls. Myself, I have never seen the serenity in it that others seem to. Footprints mean GO and DO, and while I could be persuaded by those who classify it as ambition, I’m sure no one could rightfully call it peace. In the overall Noise of the world, we are too boisterous, our own private chaoses rendering us too rowdy and too fast. Ambition? Or disruption?

I perch on the beach, staring at a hundred strings of such footprints streaking its surface. My body is wrapped in the drifting warmth of the sand. Here, the afternoons are long, with the sun always overhead, shining and shining down on the rocks and shells and driftwood lacing the shore. As I stroke the ground, the sand parts neatly before my fingers, forming little slopes and ridges after each tumbling grain has come to rest. I drag my forefinger along to form swooping circles that lap into one another, settle over the other rifts and hollows that are not mine.
At my back, the ocean brine surges in its entirety over the rocks and folds back into itself, salty and chilled. It roars with a sound that falls like silence on the ears of the crowd. Oblivious, they whip Frisbees which cut through the wind as if it had never railed at the sand and swept it up into the dunes we all cut through to reach this place. Oblivious, they splash through the rippling shadows as if what lay just beneath or just beyond could be tamed and they have tamed it. Oblivious, and desperately content, they dive for volleyballs and gouge their heels into the ground. They run and leave ambitious footprints.
But I, I refute both each of my brothers in turn as they tried to tug me up from my position on the ground. Tomorrow, I say, because I am close to them and time is what we make of it. For today, though, I will not fly kites, I will not swim or build castles. I hollow out concentric circles all around me. In the overall Noise of the world I am a thread of quiet. Peace is listening.
Every sun eventually sinks, even here in the land of immortal afternoons. This one, too, meets the horizon and shrouds the sea and the shore in brilliant hues of light. Beneath me, the sand is still warm.
When I leave the beach, I trail wistful footprints up the dunes, giving my circles back to the sea.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback