We don’t mark stuff nearly enough. Cats and dogs have the right idea. They are continually marking and re-marking their territory – their place in the world. We have a lot to learn.
Some of us may be obsessive about marking our physical patch – the stone cladding, the gnomes in the garden, the razor wire on the fence – that’s not the kind of marking I’m talking about. In the rest of our lives, our attention is always moving onto the next thing – on the path opening up ahead of us – and we forget to mark the place where we are right now, to celebrate our arrival.
So here I am, marking the spot.
A series of interpretation boards have been put up along the riverside in Bedford to tell passers-by about the planned Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway, which will connect the River Great Ouse in Bedford with the Grand Union Canal in Milton Keynes. It has taken a lot of work by an energetic band of volunteers to get to this point, bidding for and winning funding, designing and commissioning the boards, negotiating and agreeing their locations. Now they are installed in pride of place along the river. Before our attention gets swallowed up in the thousands of other pieces that need to be in place to make this amazing scheme a reality, clearly, the boards called for a Board Walk. Over 50 people took part, including the Mayor and the local MP, and it was a great success. My job, as you can see, was simply to point to the start.
Are we put off because it seems like too much trouble? Marking ceremonies don’t have to be expensive or lavish. The act, the fact of congregating is far more important than the bells and whistles. By all means look forward, but don’t forget to mark the steps along the way.
Take the time to say: “together, we are here”.