Friday, 22 April 2011

Making marks

The holidays of my younger childhood mostly involved beaches, usually fairly populous stretches of sand and shingle in busy south coast resorts. But I do have an unplaced memory of a rather different kind of beach, altogether more remote and expansive. I remember the odd thrill, on the homeward leg of a walk, of coming upon my own small footprints in the sand, left some hours earlier. There they were, unmistakable from the pattern on the sole of my sandals, alongside the steady tread of my family and the erratic meanderings of our dog. They were mine and yet not mine. They belonged to a younger me, setting out, with a day ahead of me.

I have had similar experiences since: finding again an entry left some years earlier in the visitors' book of a church or bothy; having returned to me pieces of schoolwork written when I was very young.

All my life I have made marks; traced my name in sand and snow, etched my initials in tree bark and school desks, painted rooms, planted out gardens, written all manner of things. Most of my marks will have been erased by time and tide, most are forgotten and certainly never to be stumbled upon again. But not all. There will be little scratchings here and there; evidence of the passing through by another, younger me.

Several of my friends have recently started or re-started writing blogs, newcomers like me. They have been posing questions: Why am I writing this? For whom? What do I hope for? My answer is simple. I am making marks, just as I have always done. Somewhere out there, a traveller may pass by and say 'oh look, someone has been this way before.' The traveller may even be me. Another me, older and on the homeward leg.


  1. This is beautifully written. Which sounds like a bland comment from a spam reader, but isn't. I love the footprints being left by a younger you. Your writing captures one of the reasons I keep a diary - I can imagine myself as an old man, reaquainting myself with me as I am now.

  2. It is beautifully written. And true beauty is never bland.. You write about making marks, just as you have always done. You write about travellers passing by and seeing your marks.. The poignancy of your ending touched me deeply: 'The traveller may even be me. Another me, older and on the homeward leg.'

    I wish you a long journey.

  3. Thank you Ben and Madzia for your kind and encouraging words. I am just returned from Malta (of which much to write and many photos to share in due course), hence my tardy reply. As you will have gathered I am new to blogging, still finding the tone and voice I am striving for, so your comments are most welcome.

  4. We all wish to make our mark and leave our etchings behind so we can be remembered... in some unforgettable way. Your words sing freely... and they liberate.

    A lovely group of thoughts, beautifully expressed.


  5. Thank you Nevine and welcome to dysnomia... I will think further about making marks and how it relates to an urge to be creative and a desire to be remembered.