23 – Footprints

See the links below the last video to see what other bloggers posted about footprints

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Many footprints in the sand are a sign of previous days being good. Looking from the balcony before walking this morning, I saw many footprints fanning out in different directions from the walkways leading residents between the building and the beach. Strings of footprints leading out as stems of flowers from a vase. This view inspired my thoughts today.

Footprints – the impressions left by a foot or shoe on the ground or a surface – a track, print, mark, or trace.

Let us not forget prints by other forms of feet: the hoofed, the pawed, the webbed, and the clawed – let alone those from mechanical devices. Of course, differentiating footprints and shoe prints is another story.

Photo by Mat Reding on Pexels.com

The footprints on the dry sand away from the waterline aren’t permanent as they will be erased by strong winds and surging tides – even mechanically raked by maintenance workers.

I prefer walking at the waterline because walking easier and the waves caress my lower extremities. By the waterline, waves will limit the imprint’s existence. A little higher, some footprints will remain until the high tide returns to wash away those signs of humanity.

One can discover more than they think when observing footprints. Shoes versus barefoot, the walking direction, foot size, and shoe size – even some shoe prints showing treads that can identify a brand. The walker’s foot action as pronating, pigeon-toed, or straight feet are noticeable.

Weight distributions are different – some on the toes, others on the heel – some on the inside or outside edge while others are more balanced or even. None appear to be flat-footed – at least I didn’t notice any.

The footprints I see seem fairly easy to differentiate males, females, and kids. Footprints have been shown to determine the person’s height and gender.

Close footprints in the same direction indicate two people walking close – perhaps hand in hand. I wonder: Can forensic experts extract a person’s DNA from a bare footprint on the beach? I do not know.

Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

I see the small sanderlings ahead of me foraging for food. I must check. Understandably, their very light stamps in the wet sand at the waterline will quickly wash away.

For a bird, the Great Blue Heron has a large footprint. I spot a set – three-clawed toes facing the water and one clawed toe in the opposite direction. From facing the water, the heron must have turned to walk parallel to the waterline. There appears to be a possible scuffle – but then the prints are a trail away from the water and toward the sea oats. To me, all this means the heron spotted a fish washed ashore, captured it, then took his prized possession to the sea oats to rip this tasty meal into more manageable pieces. Yes – tracking the footprints of animals in the wild.

Footprints in life are much more than what I see on the beach.

Forensics gather and analyze the footprints associated with a crime scene as important evidence. The bloody – those in the mud or freshly turned soil. Tire prints too – the footprints of a vehicle.

I wonder: How long do the footprints on the Moon remain? Without an atmosphere and waves, I imagine them remaining a very long time. Well, unless erased by a striking asteroid or covered by the scattered dust.

A slogan here is to only leave footprints on the beach. A message for visitors to take all personal belongings inside at the end of the day.

As a golfer, I know to rake the footprints I make in the sand trap. Raking the sand so my footprint doesn’t hinder the next golfer is the right thing to do.

Some footprints remain unexplained, but are froth with stories from mythology to legend. Other footprints are fossilized evidence of prehistoric life.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

To some, footprints in the sand is a meaningful prayer. To others, it is a story worth pondering.

Painted footprints from a child on a piece of paper can be a gift that will eventually serve as a remembrance of the past and how fast time flies.

As technology makes the world smaller, it seems human footprints are much more evident. Footprints as an identity – who we are, what we purchase, where we use credit credits, the location of our phone, stopping points of our web browser, boarding a plane, using a passport, completing an application, downloading an app, brands we purchase, the number of miles we drive, our lifestyle, our social media footprint – personal footprints of our life.

Today we hear about carbon footprints – but some deny they make them or see their existence as unimportant and irrelevant.

Footprints are steps to follow – following a mentor – a guide.

Footprints are a chance to leave a positive mark on a situation or on someone – possibly a legacy to someone who will pass it on.

Yes, these are all footprints – impressions left behind by someone. Yes, footprints are more than what I see on the beach. Footprints are signs of what each of us has done in life – as a worker, parent, spouse, friend, volunteer, neighbor, and more.

On this day, what started with a view from the balcony turned into a very fruitful walk. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on the feet.

See what other bloggers have posted about footprints

Next Post: Tides – Saturday 19 December @ 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

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117 thoughts on “23 – Footprints”

  1. Footprints…..good subject. I always think of them as a visible record that I was there……even if it was for a just a minute – I was there. I saw this same view – walked this same “road” as someone else will when they follow my footsteps. Great video !


    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wouldn’t think you could extract the DNA from a footprint unless some part of the skin cell were to find itself there, which means the “imprint” of a shoe or sandal wouldn’t do. Of course, if Curt Schilling and his bloody sock were to make the scene, a forensics investigator is in business.

    This post made me think of how the word footprint has changed. It’s meaning is what I’m talking about. Now when you say ‘footprint’ most people’s initial impression (slight pun intended) is that it stands to mean their influence on something, usually the environment, but it can also mean your digital footprint, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marc,
      I can remember thinking about my DNA comment as I was wondering about the exfoliation of skin by the sand – so yes – finding cells is a long shot. But the sock thought made me laugh. Oh … Good point about the changing meaning – and one that will make my notes. 🙂 Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue,
      Hello there. Good to see you back on the beach during busy times. Hope all is well with you! Your sentence about leaving impressions on others reminds me that this is a reason while we enjoy the company of good people on our blogs. After all, they leave a positive impression on us as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a thought provoking post! We all leave them, footprints. On the sand, in our memories, on another’s heart. Some fleeting and gone in a whisper, some to last as long as a memory.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Interesting thoughts on footprints. I think of all the mystery shows we watch where they look for and/or examine footprints, but at the beach, what stands out for me is the ephemeral nature of the prints that wash away with the tide.

    The WordPress Gremlins are out, and I’m suddenly and randomly not receiving notifications of posts for many blogs. I happened to see this on FB.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Merril,
      OH no … the WP Gremlins are spreading their holiday cheer. One just never knows when they are going to do their thing.

      The footprints are gone with tides, winds, and even the next wave. I recall watching the footprints of someone in front of me a short distance, and the footprints were gone by the time I got there in less than 30 seconds.

      …. and WOW … I received “ephemeral” twice in this post – and I don’t think ever once on the other blog. Did your area get any snow?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The WP gremlins are a pain! I’m getting notifications again though.

        Yes, we got a few inches, despite the change to sleet and rain, and then back to snow a bit. There’s a glaze on the snow, and now this morning it’s very cold, so anything that melted is ice.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed walking on the beach with you this morning, Frank. Especially in a tourist area, one contemplates the varied footprints in the sand, wondering whether someone eased his worries and tensions just through a long walk, or whether another finally proposed to his loved one! I love seeing those tiny tracks of birds … and the wee human and paw prints, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Debbie,
      Excellent point – Whereas I focused on the footprints, you went inside the person. Oh, the stories that one could now create. Your comment reminded me of the sand/ghost crabs that live on the beach away from the waterline. Their tiny trails to and from their holes are obvious.


  6. I am remembering the poem about footsteps in the sand–where two sets of footprints walked and then only one. And God said “that’s where I carried you”. Do you know this one, Frank?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Certainly a very beautiful allegory, Kathy!
      The great Divine Love towards creatures should also lead the unbeliever to open his heart and realize that there is a Power, a Superior Being, beyond the concepts of “unbelief”.
      I don’t know you, but I send you Love and wishes for a pacefull 2021

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Footprints come alive today with so much knowledge and perspectives, and personally for me some very fond memories too 🙂 It has been my most miraculous gift to find some beaches with absolutely no foot prints seen – what a gift that some areas on our planet still remain fairly untouched by the density of human visits. I have a picture of one such beach with a trail of my footprints that I have used as a background for a quote of mine “What are memories dear friends? It is when our words to each other remain as profound parts in each other?” I have gifted this image to some friends and they adore it. I am sure the waves washed away my footprints that same day but the picture is forever with me now.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Walking on the shoreline has always been a special sensation, both for the great love I have for Nature and even deeper towards the expanses of the oceans.
    Since I was a child, I have dreamed with great ardor about traveling to distant lands, holing up in solitary hermitages or distancing myself from everything by taking refuge on distant islands.
    I envy you, you who can leave the front door and find yourself on the beach or even observe all those creatures that, in the absence of the human, take possession of the long expanses caressed by the waves.
    I also remember the small footprints of my children, around sand castles or mystical caves, decorated with various shells and twigs. Yes, memories of past travels… what a joy, right now!
    Thank you Frank, for sharing your emotions in words that allow us to sink into the descriptions.
    I wish you happy holidays, leaving behind a ruinous year not only for the whole of humanity, but also for all creatures of the earth, water and air that have also been affected in some way by the virus.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Such a wonderful subject! I follow footprints around here all the time, sometimes knowing who made them (deer, raccoon, otter, rabbit, heron), sometimes wondering. It’s a shame we humans tend to leave so much more than our footprints. Lovely song to listen to this morning. Thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lisa,
      Glad you enjoyed this walk about footprints. My posts here follow the same format, just different topics. Tides is up now. Posts start with a sound clip for those who want waves in the background and conclude with a video of my choice. In terms of the images, I use three sources: 1) mine, 2) pexel.com (these and the most common source), and 3) collaborators (as in the Tides post and others). In terms of the footprints in the final photo, hmmmm …. could be a cousin of Sasquatch.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. On our walks we follow elk trails. They are big animals and tend to blaze trails that are human friendly. Especially in winter, as their tracks are quite easy to see in the snow. We go until we are tired, then follow our footprints back to our starting point. I’m looking forward to sharing some of these mountain hikes as I get more organized. I know you’ll love them. And good choice on the music once again.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I really enjoy taking note of the footprints of shore birds, Frank. At times they look like artwork, and I suppose in a way they are. We occasionally take our dog to a dog beach, and the pattern of paw prints is very fun. Dogs of all sizes running in the wet sand is joyful, and they leave their imprint at least until the tide comes up. 🙂


    1. Debra,
      Why am I not surprised you take your dog to the dog beach … but I can picture the scene of many paw prints. On a side note, we go to the region that is the border between two states – one that allows dogs on the beach – the other that does not (maybe a city ordinance). If I correctly recall, it’s Zena.


  12. great highlight of footprints, my carbon footprint is 0.7 and I pray others make more effort to get there in order to save our planet!

    Meanwhile leaving a footprint in the sand keeps us healthy and sane 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. our govts are only motivated by greed, if we wait for them to act our world will surely die!

        It’s up to use as individuals to step forward … waiting for others is a lame neglect of responsibility Frank …

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Frank, I really like how you led us into the carbon footprint from the nature aspect and footprints are sometimes a
    “story worth pondering”
    – i love coming up on a path where we see doggy paw prints and shoes and then different feet sizes

    Liked by 1 person

  14. After reading this, I realise that footprints, both physically imprinted and metaphorically suggested, are everywhere. Congratulations on yet another insightful post, Frank. And that song gave me goosebumps. I’ll have to share that one with my daughter, Hayley. She has a two year old daughter, who will become a big sister to her baby brother next May. I kept thinking about Aurora as I listened to the words of the song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne,
      Thank you for the kind words about this post. From my perspective, covering a wider-than-expected range gets the best comments from readers. 🙂 … Regarding the song, I can say that finding a song for this post wasn’t easy. In my journey, I found myself returning to this one. Given the comments from you and others, I’m glad I did.

      Liked by 1 person

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