Walking towards hope

October 1, 2013

Every step we take is future directed. Whether seen or unseen, imagined or real, our life’s future awaits ahead of us. With curling finger eternally beckoning, time urges us towards her. From tippling toddler to, hopefully, cane assisted elder, our lives register as footprints on the vastness of the stellar sand that shapes the cosmic story.

For those of us still fortunate to have a beating heart we are called upon by life to continue walking onwards.

Walking, we move towards a future one step at a time.

Simply put, walking towards the future is an act of hope. And we all need hope.


Last week I mentioned how Ross Langdon was about to start work on a museum centered around the earliest fossil record of humanoids walking: two adults and one child. Preserved in volcanic ash and discovered in 1976 by Mary Leaky near the famous Olduvai Gorge, these 3.6 million year old tracks are called the Laetoli footprints and are located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. Importantly, they represent the first evidence of bi-pedalism in our human evolutionary history.


Of the paired photos above, the top photo shows the dining room table from two days ago with some of the 13 evolutionary Gaia Walk drawings artist Aviva Reed is working on. She arrived last week from Melbourne on the Tuesday to continue with her interpretative drawings just one day after the news of Ross Langdon and Elif Yavuz went global.

Take a look at the right side of this photo and notice a white banner hanging down in front of the french door. This is the same banner found behind the photo of Ross and Elif taken last year when they visited Windgrove. The words on that banner (and on the other smaller ones) read: “Love”, “Peace”, “Hope”.

Obviously there is some sort of synchronistic parallel between Ross’s African museum project and the evolutionary Gaia Walk project being constructed at Windgrove. My heart warms at this connection.

DSC_9357When Aviva’s mother came for a look see and brought along both Aviva’s daughter and grandmother, well, there were four generations of women down on the floor looking at the past 600 million years of our joint evolutionary history with flora and fauna.

In a moment of inspiration, it dawned on us that the Laetoli footprints had to, somehow, be drawn and incorporated into the Cenozoic Era panel.

To a special group of friends and family, this small inclusion will represent a secret connection and memorial to Ross Langdon’s last commission.

To the public at large, it will be a very poignant symbol of how — for 3.6 million years — people have been walking towards their/our collective future. Maybe with a touch fear, but always with a sense of hope that whatever lay ahead was their tomorrow.

We, who are so privileged to be alive and walking on this earth — an earth that has seen some 4.6 billion years come and go — what tracks are we laying down?

In honour of those who have completed their walking — whether a distant or very near memory — shouldn’t we keep on walking?

I hope so.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dave Hildred October 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Peter, thank you for your words of hope. Though I did not know Ross and Elif my connection to Windgrove and Roaring beach, along with their photo – taken in a place where I have broken bread and laughed where they stood, made their senseless loss even harder to bear. I felt, selfishly I know, that the beauty of the place we call home had been, somehow, violated. Your thoughts have helped enormously.
On my last morning at Roaring, Trish and I walked on the beach and I looked at our footprints in the sand and I clearly remember thinking of your Gaia Walk project;such that each step is 50,000 years; and felt so lucky to be so privileged to be alive at that time and in that space – however briefly.
I sang the song “Dust in the Wind” to myself.
Although I cannot see how good can come out of the horror of all those who died or were hurt, I will walk on with more courage now to honour them and try harder to ensure that the footprints I leave on our blue pebble are good ones. Maybe if we all do that then this may, just perhaps, give a small comfort to those who grieve.
I know Trish ( enroute from Roaring to the BVI as I write this) and I always leave a part of us behind, even after our footprints have faded. We want to come back so much, so I shall hope that one day soon we can take the Gaia walk with you and remember Ross and Elif. Stay strong my friend. From Dave

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