I came home from band practice a couple of weeks ago, and there was a new trail marker in the dining room.
Not a literal trail marker, of course. Rather, it was one of those objects that show up in my life every now and then, and seem to serve a purpose wholly different than the one for which they were designed: they seem intended to also let me know that I’m not where I was the last time I saw one.
A reissue of an old R&B album, rather than the latest CD by the latest mopey college-rock act. A title for a vehicle, sent after the last payment was made. A mortgage, signed, sealed and delivered. A wedding ring.
The oldest trail markers didn’t tell you how far you were from your destination, or even what your destination might be. They had no numbers, no arrows, no hints, no help. The oldest trail markers basically just told you that you weren’t where you were the last time you saw one — that, like it or not and rightly or not, you were covering ground, moving from one place to another.