Importance of Breadcrumbs

As each of us goes through life, the importance of breadcrumbs left behind by others, and the ones that we create, can become invaluable. Life’s breadcrumbs come in many forms. It could be a first hand, personal interaction that we had with another person that proved pivotal in our life’s journey.

NOTE: Click on image to enlarge. Photographs have been added to serve as visual breaks.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 12-100 mm f/4 IS PRO @ 12 mm, f/8, 1/10, ISO-200, image processed to taste from RAW file

A breadcrumb could be some kind of human creation like a photograph. A piece of prose or poetry. An essay. A book. A sculpture. Some music. A painting. An oration. Or informal words spoken with humility. When something human touches us and helps us along our path… we have consumed nourishing breadcrumbs. They sustain us for a while longer during our time here. Breadcrumbs can help give us context and meaning. Or, perhaps moments of inspiration.

Deirbhile’s Twist, Ireland, Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 10.9 mm, efov 29.4 mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO-400

Our time here is finite. Most of us have no idea when our hourglass will empty. When we close our eyes and fall asleep, tomorrow is nothing more than a promissory note. Today is a reciprocal gift. We have been given the gift of another day. In return we have the opportunity to give back to the world around us.

Olympus TG-5 @ 10 mm, efov 55.6 mm, f/4.5, 1/80, ISO-800

Today is a special event to celebrate. It can be a day to create. A day to love others. A day to try to better understand ourselves. A day to attempt to be a bit better person than we were yesterday. A day to create breadcrumbs to help someone else on their path. A day to extend a helping hand.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 @ 46 mm, efov 92 mm, f/5.6, 1/10, ISO-200

This morning I did what I have done every morning for many decades. When I wake up. I take the deepest breath possible into my lungs. Then I slowly exhale. That action confirms that I am still here. I look around the bedroom and remind myself that everything that I see around me is transient. Everything that I own. Everyone that I know. And everyone that I love in my life. All of it will one day be gone… as will my physical presence.

Powerscourt Estate Ireland, Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3/5-5.6 @ 6.7 mm, efov 18 mm, f/5.6, 1/2 second handheld, ISO-400

The inescapable truth for each of us is that our time here will end at some point. Our life experiences and our belief systems help define in our minds what, if anything, happens after our physical existence here ends.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 24 mm, efov 64.8 mm, f/5.6, 1/80, ISO-3200

Many people can become totally absorbed with the trivialities of life here. Our possessions. Following fads and trends. Our physical appearance. Pointless comparisons with others. Silly pursuits of fame and wealth.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7 mm, efov 18 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-400

There will always be others who have more in terms of material accumulations than each of us do. So, striving for more for its own sake is meaningless. Ticking boxes on a material scorecard will never fill the emptiness that many of us feel deep inside.

Cabra Castle, Ireland, Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 11 mm, efov 29.7 mm, f/5.6, 1/50, ISO-1600

When my end comes I know that I will leave behind the same as the ‘rich and famous’. People like Richard Branson… Bill Gates… Warren Buffett, and a host of others. I will leave all of my material things behind… as will each of them. There is nothing more than all.

That bit of knowledge is a breadcrumb that I try to eat every day. To paraphrase Og Mandino (one of my favourite authors)… concern yourself with more important things than carrying gold to your grave.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 32mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO-3200

As humans we tend to cling desperately to things around us. It seems that the more desperate we are to accumulate… to cling to material things. To define ourselves using external measures. To evaluate our worth by what others think of us. The more we fear physical death.

More often than not, we turn to others to give us the answers that we seek. It’s as if we do not trust our own experiences and intuition to provide the answers we need. In our attempt to dispel the primal fear of death that may consume us, we erroneously think that other people somehow have more knowledge and understanding than we possess.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 48mm, efov 129mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-160

When we follow others blindly we can be led far astray from our truth. After consuming a lot of breadcrumbs for many years, I came to the understanding that I already am what I seek.

I suspect the same is true for many of you.

Irish National Stud & Japanese Garden, Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 8 mm, efov 21.6 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-400

Technical Note

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. This is the 1,050th article published on this website since its original inception.

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6 thoughts on “Importance of Breadcrumbs”

  1. Thank you so much for these thoughts. Each day I tell myself and others who will listen, that “every day is a blessing and a gift.” And we should use each day wisely. I also remind people that all we really are given is time. we just don’t know how much, so make the best of it.

  2. What has happened yesterday can not be changed, what will happen tomorrow can not be predicted. It is the Today in which we should indulge. Picking breadcrumbs and living honestly, thankfully and modestly.
    Carpe diem.

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