The Meaning of Nothing


I am walking down a Buenos Aires sidewalk in scuffed shoes that I had intended to polish but never got around to. A whiff of diesel exhaust from an idling truck yanks me from this place and thrusts me into another where I am shivering outside a truckstop looking for a ride, rows of Peterbilts, Kenworths and Freightliners idling in the Texas dawn. 

Other times I revisit a plant nursery on Thornhill Drive on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I walk beside my father over a wooden footbridge that spans a creek to reach the rows of potted plants for sale. 

Another time I am sitting on the steps of the Opera House in San Francisco. There is no performance; I have ridden the bus from the suburbs and I sit beneath a statue watching the people pass, an adolescent discovering the wide world beyond.

Yet another time, I am on a rented horse climbing a hill of dried grass in Contra Costa County and a storm is brewing in a valley that will one day be submerged by a reservoir. Again and again, I climb that hill.

Nothing ever happens in these memories. There is no danger. Nothing goes wrong. Nothing changes. I just am. 

I am waiting in the cold alone. 

I am walking beside someone I love.

I am contemplating the world as it passes. 

I am looking up at a storm and smell the scent of the animal beneath me.

These are my memories. I burnish them on my sleeve and hold them up to the light. Over and over again. Of all possible memories, these are the chosen ones. They are a reminder that I have lived, that I live still.

I am waiting in the cold alone. I am hitchhiking, throwing myself carelessly into the world. Desperate. Flailing. Praying that someone, anyone will take me.

I am walking beside someone I love before I learn the truth.

I am contemplating the world as it passes, hoping that the world outside will save me, protect me and give me peace.

I am looking up at a storm and smell the scent of the animal beneath me. It is at moments like these where I am held, immobilized firmly between earth and sky, where life overtakes me, that I can surrender. And forget. 

It is the moments we pay no attention to that will live forever.

– Kevin Carrel Footer

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4 responses to “The Meaning of Nothing”

  1. David Avatar


  2. Henry E Scott Avatar
    Henry E Scott

    I love this! It was brought back to me long lost memories of my life.

  3. Joe D. Avatar
    Joe D.

    Always enjoy Kevin‘s writing. My takeaway was regret at not having stored such memories complete with all the senses of touch, taste, smell originally experienced. I still have the memories, but it‘s more like watching an old black and white movie.

  4. SilviaBiasioli Avatar

    Hermoso escuchar tu mirada en los diferentes contextos.

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