Footprints in the Snow

11 02 2010

With the recent snow storm in Michigan and the continued dumping of the white stuff on the East Coast, my mind wandered, to warmer times, and sand, and footprints.  I took the liberty to adapt Mary Stevenson’s classic poem Footsteps in the sand from 1936 to February 2010 in Michigan.

One Night I dreamed I was walking along a snowy path with the Lord.  Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.  In each scene I noticed footprints in the snow.  Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always.  But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the snow.  Why, when I needed You most, You have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the snow, is when I carried you.”

Arguably, Footprints in the sand, is one of the most recognizable inspirational poems of all times.  Do you know the story behind it? Did you know who authored it?  Until around 1980 it was printed with “author anonymous” and another woman was attempting to get credit for writing this great poem.

Mary was born in Philadelphia, in  1922, one of 8 siblings.  She lost her mother at the age of 8.  Her father raised her and her brothers and sisters through the height of the depression.  Mary wrote Footsteps in 1936 at the tender age of 14.  A bad marriage, and a lost child found her in the 40’s around Los Angeles where she met her future husband, the love of her life.  This is also the first time she saw her poem in print, with the author labeled as anonymous.  She attempted to get a copyright but was discouraged by several attorney’s due to lack of proof, see Mary didn’t have an authentic copy, from all that had happened in life, it had been lost.

Mary became a nurse and volunteer and settled into life with her now husband and soon a son joined the family.  She was very active with charity’s and mothers of Vietnam veterans.  She lost her husband to Polio in 1980 and decided it was time to move. 

Mary Stevenson Zangare

During the move, she came across a forgotten valise.  It was filled with many of the poems she had written over the years, including the long-lost copy of  Footprints.  She chose to pursue authorship of her now famous poem and was granted a copyright.  Eleven years later her copy of the poem was authenticated as genuine by a forensic specialist ending any other’s claims of authorship.

Quite an amazing poem and story.  The family has set up a website if you have an inkling for more information(

I think maybe after school today, Sydney and I will make footprints in the snow.  If she struggles I will carry her like the Lord carries me.




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