Footprints In The Calcium Carbonate

Caitlin Johnstone
3 min readMar 21, 2019


One night I dreamed a dream that I was standing on a beach with God.

“Do you see those two sets of footprints?” the Lord asked me.

“Yeah!” I replied. “Are they from when you were walking with me through the difficult times in my life?”

“What? No, that’s where two humans were walking! They can walk on their hind legs, totally erect! It took millions and millions of years of evolution.”

“Oh, yeah, I know about that,” I replied.

“Oh yeah I know about that,” God mocked in a high-pitched, exaggerated Australian accent. “So I guess you were here during the Big Bang when I set all this in motion? You have a full appreciation of the magnitude and scope of the way the stars conspired to form life on a Goldilocks planet along a trajectory that would one day become capable of the neurobiological gymnastics of bipedal ambulation??”

“Uh, well, I guess not, no. Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend.”

“Like to see you create fully bipedal primates out of a complete and total void, smartass.”

“Look, I said I was sorry! Hey, I have a question. I’ve been really struggling in life lately, and — “

“Calcium carbonate,” God interrupted.


“That’s what the sand’s mostly made of. Do you know what that is? The crushed up exoskeletons and endoskeletons of ancient sea life! Those two humans made those footprints on a giant graveyard of, like mollusks and crustaceans and stuff. Later they’ll build a castle out of it! How cool is that?”

“Pretty cool I guess, but — “

“See how many grains of sand there are? If you counted every one of them on this planet, there would be less of them than the number of stars that astronomers can see from here.”


“You bet your sweet fuckin’ ass whoah!” God said with his finger in my face before balling up his fist and thumping his chest. “I made all this! Me! Chet!”

“Okay, but I really need to ask you some important — Wait, your name’s Chet?”


“Okay, uh, Chet. Look, sometimes life can be really painful, and I was wondering if you had any kind of wisdom or advice or anything while I have your attention?”

“Dammit motherfucker, haven’t you been listening to anything I just said? I pointed the unfolding of the entire universe at this moment, right now, just so a bunch of primates could walk around on their hind legs on the dirt here and look around at this amazing place I made! Do you know how much work it took the stars to get you here? To create elements and planets, to create DNA, to have a few small mammals survive the snapping jaws of the dinosaurs and eventually figure out how to stand up and walk in the sand while arguing about Donald Trump? You’re riding the crest of an explosion of miracles far beyond your comprehension and you’re asking me, what? How to do it right? Just show up, dude. Just show up, stop taking all this for granted, and stop making it about yourself.”

“Oh. Ohhhh. Okay. Alright, yeah.”

“Come on, let’s take a walk.”


We walked along the beach for a while, our footprints mingling with the people who’d gone before us.

“Hey, God?”


“Will you carry me?”

“Fuck no.”









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