Yesterday, I was out fungus hunting again, in a forest near a US airbase. I spent four hours with my hands in damp moss and leaf litter, hoping to find an edible lactarius or two, while combat aircraft practised approaches overhead.
When I got home, my wellingtons made damp rippled footprints in my carpet. I didn't notice that for a while, wandering around feeding the bird and putting some washing out to dry and watching the news with half an eye. But as I came down the stairs later, I saw my bootprints in the carpet -- a small corrugated emboss of my foot on each step. I thought, look! Someone has been here! Look, you can see where they turned the corner ...
I knew it was me, of course I did ... but somehow I was struck by the fact that my stepping, my having been, on the ground, in my house, around people's lives, simply never occurs to me. I never leave footprints because I am only ever thinking of the step I am about to take.
I thought of the spaceboot print on the moon. Undisturbed in the breezeless lunar air and in the iconography of our little Western minds. I was born on the anniversary of the moon landing.