I have always said that an important part of being a parent – and also the hardest thing about being a parent (or a teacher) – is being consistent.
Important because all living things thrive on routine and regular expectations.
Hard because those same living things fight against those regular habits and long to break free – either to find something new or to do nothing at all.
A while back I got all fired up about returning to my writing. There had been many distractions – I will write about them in separate posts – but I felt that the time was right for a return to writing, and consequently a return to having that feeling of discovering (uncovering) the real me. I have learned that the key is to be consistent and persistent in writing – write every day – and I had not been doing that.
SO a return to that pattern sounded good to me. I had even promised to share a good example of consistency in my next post, but sadly that didn’t happen. Today when I looked back for that post, I was shocked to see that it came from APRIL of last year!!!
But now it is time. Now – over the river and through the woods – I’m b-a-a-a-a-c-k- and hoping that I can truly be more regular in my writing! Hopefully, better late than never…
Our neighbors at the lake have a steep back yard just like we do. Unlike us, though, they have a tram to ride on down the hill to the water for easier access.
But they also have an older route. Years ago someone laid a stone stairway from their house to the ramp that goes to their boathouse.
I cannot even begin to imagine the work that was required to put that stairway in place.
To begin with (I can only guess), the builders had to locate the stone and cut it into blocks of fairly equal sizes, with at least one level side for the top of the tread. Unlike carving wood, however, these rocks were heavy and solid and strong. No doubt they offered much resistance to the stonecutters.
Then the foundation had to be dug for the placement of the stones. Of a certain width, and a predetermined depth, and shaped in a sort of staircase of dirt, to fit each stone in the right position. And this is not a short passage.
Working with these materials on a level plain would be hard enough. Navigating the slope, starting at bottom (with no steps yet to carry materials down), made every action twice as hard. The builders had to insure that each step was level and secure, and that each one made a steady foundation for the ones to be laid on top. Step after step, up and up, settling into a pattern of permanence for years to come.
Our lake has many properties with such stairways. But of course few are used any more. It takes a lot of effort to climb such a stairway. And the original ones had no handrails for support, though some have been added more recently. Now other methods, such as trams and winding paths or roads, are used instead.
It would take an almost equal amount of effort to remove these steps as it did to set them in place long ago. So the stairways endure. They remain locked in place, still offering a safe passageway, more often for small animal paws than for human feet. They gather moss, and lichens, and plant debris, and they do not erode or shift.
Isn’t this an encouraging metaphor for consistency and persistency? No matter the weather, the stones remain. Even when seemingly irrelevant, the stones persist in their duty. Still they linger, and time has no meaning to them.
And through this consistent persistence, the stones live on. They provide a space for new life to take hold, assured in the fact that this is a safe place, something to depend on. Forming a link from the past to the future. Carrying on.