A phrase commonly used for either leaning toward change or not accepting the possibility of it is “it’s not set in concrete” or “it’s set in concrete”, meaning it is firmly established. A similar phrase is “set in stone”. Concrete was a world changing discovery… and not just in the modern era, but literally thousands of years ago. We have still not been able to replicate the quality of the concrete made by South American cultures centuries ago.
Concrete is the most used foundational material in all construction, and is used to stabilize any crumbling cornerstone. With all of its stabilizing qualities, ask any contractor and they will tell you that concrete always cracks- it’s just a matter of time. Furthermore, as long as there is earth under the concrete foundation, chances are very good that it will move. To reduce the possibility of movement in many projects, holes are drilled all the way to bedrock so that the concrete pylons may be poured on rock.
We have all smiled as we have walked across sidewalks that have animal tracks on them- their timing is impeccable as they leave their mark in time. Concrete has made possible so many things from swimming pools to skate board parks, from park benches to bridges and boat docks- the list seems endless. In all uses, concrete lasts the longest and seems as permanent as anything. Hence the idioms “set in concrete” or “set in stone”.
My recent infatuation with this subject began last week when I walked around the driveway and was struck at all the cracks in it- mostly small fissures over time. I was reminded again that change is constant, and even when things are set in concrete there is little chance it will remain unchanged over time.
Then I walked into the back yard and saw a square of concrete that we have preserved in memoriam. It has all the hand prints of our children. They have all left home for now so perhaps its significance was more striking than before. And then a truth which I believe in hit me…
Concrete may crack, decay, and even crumble over time. Families change as well; however, in the grand scheme of things, though change in our families is constant, FAMILIES ARE FOREVER!
A square of concrete reminded me of that. I guess some things ARE set in stone!