feet and footprints

I was recently in Bamberg, Germany, and had a chance conversation with a German that set me thinking about knowledge and intuition. I’ve occasionally thought that you can have too much knowledge and that this can impede the ability to marvel; for example, does an in-depth knowledge of biology reduce our appreciation of nature?

My memory for facts has never been good and I’ve reached the age when I find it increasingly difficult to retain information (and if I write it down I forget where I’ve put the piece of paper). Although I might not be able to recall the facts I’ve learned or the knowledge I’ve acquired, they still seem to contribute to who I am and the way I see the world – and hence the photographs I take.

I thought of a metaphor for this process: facts are like feet treading in soft clay. Some feet are memorable but most are forgotten. Well, not quite forgotten since they leave their footprint. Over time the footprints accumulate and it may be possible to see a general direction that these footprints are leading us in. Is this a reasonable analogy for intuition, experience, or even wisdom? Leave a comment if you want.

Something caused me to photograph this cross at Michaelberg overlooking the city of Bamberg. Some “pattern of footprints” made me think it was worth photographing whereas others wouldn’t look twice:

metal cross with vapour trails

Crosses, Bamberg, Germany.

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