Friday, February 17, 2006

Permanence

I have been thinking about permanence lately. Blogs are ethereal, they disappear, they are a temporary medium. Funny thing is that there are programs available that make them more permanent. These websites clip much of the web, but normally don’t start clipping until after a site has been up for six months. And, you know what, most blogs don’t make it that long.

Books on the other hand, are much more permanent. How often have you browsed a book that was published at the turn of the century? And for the most part, these books are relatively inexpensive – check out Ebay and see. Ebay gives one a relative price, and you can find many for less than you could buy a book at Barnes and Nobel. Of course, B&N is perhaps one of the most overpriced booksellers in the nation, so this is not that surprising. But I digress (what else is new).

The other day, I was waiting in line in a grocery store. Relax, this is not another digression – the introduction was the digression.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive."
- Sir Walter Scott (Marmion, 1808)


I was people-watching, almost unintentionally. There was this cute little boy and he was having a hard time. Actually, I think he was just being a boy, but his mother was having a hard time. She raised her voice, hit him, and I was thinking to myself, "Poor guy. Shopping sucks." But mother was tired, embarrassed, whatever, and she lost control. And I wondered about the boy, his home life, and whether he will remember this little even years from now.

Our lives, our physical lives are likewise not permanent. We only spend a short time here on Earth – and then we are gone. But are our effects on Earth may be felt long after our deaths. Those with children, I would think, have a larger impact on the world. Those who influence others, whether they are little boys in a grocery store, or elderly women alone years after husbands have died.

What we want, I believe, is to leave a footprint on this world, whatever that may be. For some of us, it could be writing a book, for others, building a large family home on the coast, for still others, inventing something. For me, I hope to leave this world a little better off than I found it.

I have planted trees – and I wonder if that will have even a greater impact. Can you imagine having an oak tree, alive several hundred years after you die? A huge oak, limbs reaching skyward. Personally, I think I would rather impact the little boy.

14 comments:

Mike said...

Impacting a child is great....but perhaps that mighty oak would have a great impact on many, many boys as well.

Edge said...

Very well said. I feel the same and wonder, myself, how I can make a greater impact.

~Jef

Prata said...

@mike
Yep, impact him right into the after life when he strikes it in a DUI incident. ^_^
Just kidding, but hey it could happen. You're right though, oak trees release oxygen. As does plant life around the globe on a regular cycle. That oak tree will help produce oxygen, provid a place for someone to carve their initials or name within a heart with a girl or guy...planting trees is not a trivial thing if you think about it. Maybe there will be a swing on the tree where someone will hang themselves for 3 minutes as a child and have a child like mentality for the rest of his or her life. Or, maybe someone will have their first kiss beneath those branches. Oh the possibilities!

@Leesa
Posting about this later actually. Kind of.

Monica said...

Prata- like "The Giving Tree"....one of my favorite books (note to self....buy it for the kids on ebay)

Leesa- Have kids! You seem to want them, and (from what I know of you) you would be a lovely mother. Adopt, foster parent, steal (or not) a couple. The danger in that, is that it is a gamble. hypothetical children always are loving and sweet, and grow up to cure cancer....real kids can (inexplicably, as in the case of my godmother's son) turn out rotten. Until you are ready to make the leap into the never to be finished career of motherhood, find another way to impact the world that can satisfy (somewhat) your motherhood instinct. Dove's website and cooperation with the Girl Scouts really impresses me. If I didn't have 4 kids (and especially 2 daughters) already, I would throw myself into the self esteem programs they're sponsoring. And if you're gonna visit the site, go with tissues.....it makes me cry every time.

Anyway.....uhhhhh....yeah, trees are good.
Monica

ck_dexter_haven said...

I have three...kids that is. It's a very difficult responsability to raise them knowing YOU are having that kind of impact on them. The things I do and say now will affect them the rest of their lives. It's kind of scary really they see and hear everything. But it is very rewarding. I agree with Monica, from what I see here I bet you would be a great mom. As for your tree? I live in a rapidly growing So. Cal city and let me tell you the trees are and farm land are dissapearing. Having a few of those oak trees around for the futere is quite an important contribution. I like to see beauty.

thebillofbrothers said...

In the disposable society we find ourselves in, I feel it's increasingly more difficult to make even a community-wide impact that last for more than just a short time.

On the other hand, being a father of two boys, I've found that the greatest impact I have lives in them and their children and so on. I can be completely self-centered and leave a negative impact as a father/grandfather or I can be selfless and raise two boys who will become two great fathers and in-turn raise wonderful human beings.

It's a prodigious task if there ever was one.

~Deb said...

I think everyone has a purpose in life. Some people even write blogs----to carry on their legacy. I've heard that before. And why wouldn't it? If it's a good enough blog, and the author passes on (just like an author of a book)---their legacy has carried on.

Great thought provoking post--as usual Leesa! :)

Shannon said...

Wow.. awesome post.

I have two children and I often think that way. Everything I do I know will impact them in some way. It is a scary thought knowing everything you do will in fact have an effect on the future. I just hope I leave my children with everything I was given by my parents and then some.

Have an awesome weekend =)

Lee said...

I am quite partial to the idea (Jewish?) that you live on for as long as people remember you. Children, family generally, neighbours, the guy you said 'Hi' to on a bus, all of them extend your presence beyond the physical.

But trees are good too.

Leesa said...

mike and jef: I sometimes wonder where I should be spending my limited time.

prata: I would rather have a drunk driver hit a tree than a child.

monica: The Girl Scouts were started in Savannah, GA, and I know them well. Oh, and for tree books, read "The Man Who Planted Trees." Wonderful story - commissioned for Arbor Day.

dexter: those blessed enough to raise children are in my prayers.

bill: I think it is easy to start to make change, but to sustain change, that is the problem.

~deb: your blog positively affects many.

shannon: I am reminded of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; "if you want change the world, then do it"

lee: I have heard that, yes. A wonderful thought.

kathi said...

leesa ~ your blog affects many too. You give a lot of insight into ourselves by revealing what you do about yourself. You've touched me many times with your honesty.

Chris-el-da said...

great post lisa!
i hope i leave some footprints behind.
i'd like to say that the little boy was more of an impact on you...
but look how many of US he impacted in turn!

Joe said...

Interesting post, it made me think.

Leesa said...

kathi: thanks for the compliment.

ChRiSeL-DUH: Your little one is a cutie. And from your blog, it looks like you will affect many more people.

joe: thinking is good; perhaps the next post won't make you think, though.