Clay is a wonderful medium for retaining impressions.
Children love to play with clay. Adults also enjoy the pleasure of shaping something pliable into a lasting object. Impressing a shape into clay has become a usual way to retain memories. Parents and other relatives marvel at the imprints of the tiny hands and feet of the new additions to the family that have been preserved and mounted high for all to see.
Clay captures details perfectly. Every line and wrinkle is preserved. They catch the moment and last for a lifetime. The moment passes but the memory stays.
As we enter and share people’s lives we also make lasting impressions.
This impression can be when you or something about you stands out in an observer’s mind. It can be a good or a bad impression.
Each person makes an impact that can become deeply grooved into your mind or flit away like a single autumn leaf in amongst hundreds of others swirling through the windswept park.
I have had people come into my life that have been forceful and left a running impression like a deep tyre track in mud, while others that have been subtle and intricate leaving a memory like that associated with a beautiful perfume.
All these people have left a part their character behind even if they have gone away. Part of them will forever remain with me. The way they leave, the way they entered my life will all become part of the overall impression that they have generated and that I remember – fondly or not – when I think of them.
I’m sure that the same thing happens when people remember me.
I know that all impressions change and shape the receiver – that makes me conscious of the potential impressions that I am leaving in my wake today. Will they be strong positive impression that I have made or weak and distasteful impacts? Some people practice how to make a good impression and by doing this they act in a certain way to creating specific behaviour patterns for their own long- or short-term benefit.
It is unusual for anyone to know beforehand exactly what the result of their efforts will be. The effect of being in contact with others is like the creation of a painting: it is made by one person but many others can be influenced by its image.
I reflect on the mark others have made on my life. On so many occasions I have been extremely privileged to be the recipient of a beautiful expression of their characters. Some marks we leave in others' lives are temporary, some impressions are permanent and beautiful.
I hope that all the temporary impacts will be washed away like a sand castle at high tide, while all the permanent imprints will remain like clay casts retaining all the magnificent details perfectly.