A common sight for the hiker, at least of more accessible areas and trails, finds that the woods are not so different from the city streets: graffiti is plastered on the rocks and trees. Names and dates, proclamations of existence, painted and carved into the landscape. And it makes me sad and sick.
Defacing nature that the ‘world’ may know your name. Yes, you have made known loudly that you have no qualms in destroying beauty for the sake of your fatuous vanity. It is a futile endeavor too.
Nature reclaims all things in time. The rocks shall be cleansed. The trees fallen and rebirthed.
One is left to question the idea of being remembered too though. If somehow such foolishness were successful, would being remembered for marring a plant be worth a speck of gold dust? Being remembered is valuable only by virtue of what we are remembered for. If we are remembered solely for pushing our memory onto onlookers, trumpeting our own self-affirmed fame, is it perhaps more infamy and narcissism than actual fame that commits our existence to memory?
Supreme virtue and vice alone compel the reminiscence of man. The mildly good and mildly bad shall both lose their place in history. We are remembered most for a life well-lived. That may sound vague and it should. The truth is that we each have a different demand placed upon our goodness, upon our lives. My life well-lived is not your life well-lived. Undoubtedly, there is some commonality to be found in the intersections of our humanity. We can list them by their imposed title of ‘Virtue’. They are transcendent characteristics, well beyond all individuality.
But it is the combination of the two, of transcendent Virtue and idiosyncratic purpose, that implores people to remember us. Our individuality is the sum of imperfections in the diamond of Virtue: it gives Virtue’s prismatic purity character with our own unique coloration. Alone, Virtue will always be valuable and memorable for its scarcity, but unlike real diamonds, there are no truly clear and pure people. So it is, that for us, our coloration gives even more value commensurate with a vibrancy of unique coloring.
Live well then in both fullness of Virtue and purpose and I promise you will not be forgotten. I cannot promise fame. I cannot promise celebrity. But those touched by your life will be your mark indelibly etched upon history.