How Many Footprints?

We still walk down that dusty old dirt road.  I often wonder how many footprints have we left behind in our lifetime of morning strolls.  I think of all the conversations we had and the deep silences that spoke of how well we understood each other.  We didn’t need words to fill those silences for within that silence lived the story of our journey.  There is a comfort now between us, soft like a worn leather book.  Even now after so many years we still find new things along our walk, a bird or flower that is recent to the dirt road.

We still see old friends on our walk like the cardinals, bluebirds, and hummingbirds down by the coral honeysuckle plants. We remember the ones that have departed the four dogs now down to one, and our cats all gone.  We are fortunate to have so many memories that rewind the story of our life. We still walk close, arm in arm, and we still speak of our love.  It never grows cold only deeper; the flame still provides warmth and comfort.  I remember the years of chasing success only to find that success is a dusty old dirt road on a spring morning with my wife and our old dog.  A love without end!

One of the joys of life is to see your children grow up and walk that same dusty old dirt road.  It is a thing of pure joy to reflect on their journey and remember when they were so little that you had to carry them when they got tired.  The road for them was a place to play, a place where nature has many lessons to teach them and a place where we elders departed our wisdom and advice.  Often it was where they went for solace and solitude to work through the challenges that life gave them.

What I have to say is the greatest pleasure of getting old is spending time with your grandchildren.  They brought the magic back to the dirt road picking flowers, watching the birds and listening to their songs.  They chased the squirrels and loved to see the ducks waddle.  Every now and then a deer would step out into the road just feet from them and they would run after it with the dogs.  As we all know dogs mentor children and they loved when the children came to visit them.  The dogs taught them how to follow trails and go still when they sensed creatures nearby.  It was always deeply touching when we could get four generations taking a Sunday walk down the dirt road.  As always the dirt road had something to give all of us.

There is a special feeling when everyone returns home and we walk the dirt road hand in hand just the two of us.  It is an intense feeling of shared joys and memories created.

Your smile is radiant and will remain that way for days.  We are comfortable in the quiet of the late afternoon; the Cardinals coming in for a last feeding and the front porch calls us to come sit a while watching the day pass and the evening stars fill the sky.  It is a good life on this dirt road, a life away from the noise and haste.  We wonder how many footprints were left on the dirt road.

Point Of View

I think that often we forget to remember the simple things in life.  We spend the least amount of time on the things that mean the most.  The road tells that we too were once children and there were others before us and the ones after us will have their story to tell.  I would hope that they will remember the simple joys and happiness that can be felt from the time on the dirt road.  Maybe they will tell their children about us.  I can see them now sitting down with the children on the front porch gathering around the rocking chairs saying let me tell you a story about Grandpa and Grandma and how they loved each other and loved leaving their footprints on the dirt road.  I can hear them asking “How many footprints did they leave and can we make some too?”


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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  1. Children love it when we tell – and re-tell – family anecdotes.
    Children are naturally self-centered so all the stories that see them as protagonists have an extra charm. Hearing about when family members were young and getting into trouble, or living in a time when things were different, can sting the imagination and, moreover, the contrast between the adult and the child’s story that state can surprise and amaze them. Personal stories are very powerful and can strengthen the family bond. The listener has a personal connection with these reminiscences. Even just asking “do you remember when …?” it can trigger images, memories, and a deep emotional response. The sense of a shared past, of common experiences and characteristics, can be strengthened through the telling of family stories. Differences too can be celebrated and become an integral part of family identity. The stories also make up family traditions and rites.