My grandparents’ ranch is on the Brazos river, a perpetually brown, sandy-bottom river outside Houston.

I’ve paced around its shores on trips to the ranch my whole life, and now we take our kids there and they do the same thing.  Its amazing to watch history repeat itself like that, and I’m happy to report that fossil-searching, stick-throwing, rock-skipping, shell-finding, mud-smearing, dam-building, and poking at things with sticks are all still going strong.

It’s been wet in Texas lately, and I found tons of animal tracks last time we were there.  Coyote, for example:

And racoon.  I love how much their paws look like hands.

And deer. I’m pretty sure.

And some crazily huge bird with stick-feet bigger than my son’s hands:

And somehow looking at those tracks got me thinking about all tracks I myself have left on this very beach–in Keds and cowgirl ropers and Adidas.  And then suddenly I was thinking about my grandparents, and all the years that have passed since they walked on this beach with us, and how much I miss them, and how much I would love it if they could come back, even just for an hour, and visit us and meet my kids.  It seems impossible to me that their lives didn’t overlap.  Especially when my daughter’s eyes are the exact  blue that my grandfather’s were, and my son’s eyes are the exact buttery brown of my grandmother’s.  How could they be connected so profoundly and never have even met?

But I guess that’s how it is with the past.  It really doesn’t leave enough behind.