Wednesday, January 25, 2006


One of the rules of life is that actions leave traces. A foot pressed against the ground can leave a clear imprint in sand or a subtle compression in fallen leaves or a difference in sheen of the traces of dust on a concrete floor. The track is always there.

The track tells you the action, sometimes more. I'm not much of a tracker, but on good soil I can tell if the person who made the track was male or female, right or left handed and usually if they are carrying something in one hand or over the shoulder. A good tracker sees more- where the head was turned while the feet went forward, exactly when the person decided to turn before they actually did, precisely how fast they were going, whether they are carrying a backpack or a fanny pack.

Tracks are everywhere and once you atune to them, there is a rich source of information invisible to everyone else at your feet. It is magic, as powerful as clairvoyance but more sure.

Everything you do leaves a track. Sometimes it's not a mark on the earth. Sometimes it's a child who is not afraid to try because of some contact, some action that you made, and you will see that track and the echoes of other tracks in the amazing things the child and later the adult will do. You see the tracks of major abuse and minor insults in fears and little hesitations, in subjects that never come up or subjects that come up too often.

Habits leave tracks in behavior as deep as ruts on a country road.

Teaching is the deliberate laying down of tracks- trailblazing or railroad tracks, sometimes the teacher tries to do it without leaving a personal mark, but it can't be done.

Maybe you will never have the time or the desire to learn to watch the ground for clues of all who have passed there before. But take the time, if you can, to look for the tracks of history on the people you care about. And walk gently there, because the traces of your actions may out live you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've never heard an explanation of karma so simple, put so well. Thanx.