I hang legacy on my walls, and box up all the past.

A path once walked is turned around,

A tree once fallen is no home for birds.

But chunks of wood and crushed up leaves create warmth with a creative spark,

whether a soothing crackle with marshmallows and sticks,

or a destructive, billowing heat that turns homes and memories to ash,

is a matter of choice, to heal or to decimate.

The key, the result, blooms from the seed of intention and nourishing, consistent care.

Neither of these come forth without love.

Have you ever seen anything flourish alone in the dark?

The snakes, the bats, and the insects,

they all seek sustenance and light,

even if only to fill their bellies.

We are made for more than appetite.

The greatest meal fills the belly, but neglects the soul.

Legacy requires much more than satiety.

We build souls, nurture time, invest in love and hope and grace.

We are designed for this —

to carry the infantile version of the Creator’s mind, to reach out and stretch,

longing for what we cannot reach.

And though we know that we’ll never achieve the pull, the victory, the sweet taste,

still we are compelled to try.

Because when we reach we are reminded that we will one day taste,

not only a passing scrape of the leaves

or a sense of warmth on the skin of the fruit,

but as taste in full of the sweetness, the taste-texture-pulp-and-juice

of the perfect fruit.

The tree of life bears her richness for all, yet so many are willing to settle

for the fallen leaves, the mass-produced, genetically modified, glazed and shined

replicas of what she offers.

They work and strive to get a prize that is no prize at all.

Legacy is not created in a factory, or by an algorithm, or shipped in a boxed that arrives on your porch

in two days or less.

And though I try to frame it,

and shelve it,

and preserve it,

legacy isn’t made to collect dust.

It is the dust.

The dust of hard work, sore muscles, eyelids raw from wiping tears, backs aching from the work we do

because others will not.

It is the mold of unmet expectations, the brittle, chipped edges cut by sharp words from sharp tongues

that never pause to see the drops of blood they drew from another.

But legacy is also the ointment, the soothing balm that renews the muscles,

the cleansing cloth that lovingly wipes away the rotting fungus,

the sandpaper grit that that tames the hearts

and softens the words

until the rough is smoothed

and the sharp is dulled down to acceptance.

The victory comes to both the destroyed and the destroyer when both are reborn through the same shed blood.