My Ancient Footprints (excerpt of WIP

“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)

I 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.

I 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 recall.

The prints 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 world.

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 the last.

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 joy.

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

 

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