Snail Trail

by Helene Louise  

 

Two years ago on a beach in Maine, I noticed a strange pattern on the rocks, like some sort of free-form labyrinth.  Looking more closely, I saw it was actually winding trails made by tiny snails in a very thin layer of sand as they travelled along on the rocks.  It made me think of that rhetorical question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” In this case, I thought…As we travel along on our life’s journey, even if we can’t see the trail we’re leaving behind us, does it mean there isn’t one? 

I think as invisible as it may seem to us, we do, in different ways, leave a trail behind us as we travel along through our lives. For some, it’s a significant contribution, having an impact on a great number of people. For most of us though, our trails are much smaller, confined to little rocks somewhere on the edges of the beach. Still, all of our actions, both positive and negative, leave an impression on something or someone, even if we can’t visually see it. As members of a community, for example, we have an effect based on whatever involvement we choose to have. As parents, our choices and actions are later reflected in the attitudes and values our children carry forward. In my case, I like to believe that all of my efforts to rehabilitate my daughter after a childhood stroke have contributed to her having not just a greater physical capacity but also a stronger sense of self than she otherwise would have. 

If we could look back and clearly see the patterns we are leaving behind us, would we be happy with what we saw? I hope that when I am the equivalent of an old, slow-moving snail, that I will look back and be content with what I have left behind. Micha Books is a part of that—an effort on my part to turn what was a very difficult period in my life into something that, hopefully, is helpful to others. This summer, I was very happy to be invited to talk about my book at an event organized by the Canadian Pediatric Stroke Support Association and another one at Marillac Place, an organization in Kitchener, Ontario that provides a safe home for young women who are pregnant or have a young child. There, rather than focussing on pediatric stroke, I talked more generally about the importance of persevering even when you find yourself facing an extremely difficult situation, and even (and especially...) when you find yourself facing these situations on your own. I very much appreciated the opportunity to meet these young women and I admire their extraordinary courage. And, I have great admiration for organizations such as Marillac Place that help young people when they need it the most and in this case, their young children who have barely just begun their lives.

We can't really see the trail we leave behind us, but doing and saying something positive along the way must surely be a good thing, even if we can’t see what the impact is. 


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