The braces finally came off, after two and a half years. More cause for celebration, thankfully not at the multiplex this time but at Chipotle. Nothing very symbolic about a Burrito Bowl, but losing the braces is certainly a symbolic milestone. Thinking about symbols and milestones at Dr. Gluck's led me back to a couple of images, profound in their juxtaposition..
Cosmopolitans are optimists because they're acutely aware not only of how far we still must go, to cover the ground between here and sustainability & social justice, but also of how far we've come. They enjoy the present, as the philosophers of happiness all agree we must. But they take past and future seriously too.
Walking symbolizes this attitude so well. Every step of a journey stands alone, every moment of a good walk is absorbing and sufficient unto the hour. Yet in their totality, our footprints lead from primitive beginnings to the unimaginably exciting adventure of discoveries ahead.
An old post captures this graphically.
The present. What else do we have? The past is dead, the future’s not yet living. Right? Not quite. Past and future are virtually alive in us, for those of us who think there’s something in them we can use. Something we must respond to, and connect with.Like ancient footprints. When we walk a mile in their ash we extend their range and deepen our connection to cosmic time, “ancient and vast.” We speak for the earth of things.
We humans have set foot on another world in a place called the Sea of Tranquility, an astonishing achievement for creatures such as we, whose earliest footsteps three and one-half million years old are preserved in the volcanic ash of east Africa. We have walked far.