People talk a good bit these days about the "carbon footprint". This is a very good topic of discussion, I suppose. I worked my way through one of those elaborate carbon footprint calculators, to find that I should be donating several hundreds a year to help mitigate my carbon footprint. I am pleased that someone tried to extrapolate a quantification, even as my head tells my heart that the level of extrapolation must necessarily interfere with the precision of the rubric.
This notion of a "footprint" arguably should make me want to buy new laces for my hiking boots. Instead, the idea of "footprint" causes my mind to wander along the paths of one's enduring "footprint"--that is, one's tiny part of posterity.
Lately I find myself reading obituaries in the morning newspaper. I like those obituaries which provide a lot of biographical detail--education, occupation, military service, hobbies, joys, religious observances, sorrows, and social service. They help remind me how many people dab a little glue on to keep the social fabric bonded. A sadder but nonetheless worthy thing, too, is the convention of the memorial advertisement, such as a simple picture and "we miss you" statement about a 23-year-old departed five years ago.
I think about leaving my own footprint--not so much for the purposes of having an impressive obituary, but for the purpose of using what's been given me a bit more to advance the "common good". I think that the substances one outputs amount to more than carbon. I puzzle over how to transfer more good out. I don't have any burning desire to be someone "important" or "heroic". I'd like to focus more on finding things I can do to do the things I wish to see done. If I am to have a kind of restlessness, I think this is the restlessness I would pick. Not to seek for some undefined thing, but to seek for ways to help.
McDowell Creek Photo Motion from Don Whitaker on Vimeo.