“The oldest known set of footprints… are 117,000 years old and thought to be those of a woman and possibly a child…” (New Scientist magazine, 31 January 1998)
climbed the rock at dawn and gazed long at the footprints. The
scientists want to cut them out and take them away soon - seal them up
in a back room somewhere far away from prying eyes and questioning
minds. Before they do, I must do this. I step barefoot into the small
indents of stone, and I fit. I knew I would. Like a glove, the stone
holds close my soles.
close my eyes and feel deep into our mother’s bones, these stones.
Does she remember me? I remember her, so long ago. All our works are
gone; it is so strange that our solitary prints remain. What quirk of
nature prodded the saving of so small a thing as the trace of two small
pair of feet, when all else was leveled and washed away beyond all
tell but a breath’s worth of our trek; they do not show our haste, or
the dampness of the child’s tears against my flesh. They cannot begin
to tell of the woman-child I was, the family I left behind all
dead, the fear and dread of venturing beyond the ends of the known
The archaeologists in search of traces to prove we lived
then will be sorely disappointed. What traces remain are faint and
deeply buried if indeed they are there at all.
We few souls have
gone on rebirth upon rebirth to the world of now. Too few of us
remember the before time. I do, and here I stand again, poised on a
small precipice, looking out to the march of destruction that looms on
this world’s horizon.
The millennia rushed past us at a dizzying
pace. The faithful once again prepare to meet their maker each in their
own way. Armageddon nears again. It is not the first time, nor will it be
I shake my head and smile; they’ve not yet learned the lesson of the mother, who, ever
hopeful, gives us life again and again. Some were with me then, and
some are with me now. Nature will once again wipe the works of man from
her face and banish some of us for a small time, but some always
survive. We will wait in queue to enter the willing wombs of those
believing in tomorrow enough to harbor new life and bring it forth in
Life is a circle not come full, always ending at the
beginning. We travel new paths and learn new things until, like the one
called Christ and many whose names we never knew, we finally understand
and can shed the flesh and ascend – never to return again.
© Perle Champion