What’s a sign? Why do we use them? How do we use signage and markers? Where do we put up signs? When do we use signs and markers? What is the difference between a sign and a marker?

These are some of the questions floating around my head in the past couple of days. And for good reason. There’s a “for sale” on my property. Simultaneously, we are creating the headstone for Herschel’s grave. Signs. Markers. Is there a difference between the two?

A sign is a symbol. It indicates something significant to us. As soon as we see a red hexagonal sign, we know it means, “stop” – even before we read the word. When we see the words “for sale,” we know the property or item is available for purchase.

It turns out that a marker is a synonym for “sign.” The marker is an indicator, a pointer, or also a symbol. So there’s no difference between the terms. It’s a matter of semantics. We say, “for sale sign,” not, “for sale marker.” Yet, we call a gravestone a “grave marker,” not a “grave sign.” I haven’t researched the etymology. That might be an interesting pursuit at some point. (If you know the history of the terms, feel free to share that in the comments!)

In the spirit of the blog byline, I’m going through another transition and challenge. This time from homeowner to … not sure what. My home is “for sale.” There’s clear signage on the property. It’s startling. It’s exciting. It’s also sad.

We bought this home in November 2006. This house was a dream/vision that came to fruition in a very magical and awesome way. We wanted to live here until retirement. We even had plans to remake a part of the first floor into a master bedroom suite.

The tasteful, colorful realtor’s sign indicates my decision. This choice is enormous, overwhelming, and scary. The sign really symbolizes that I’m parting with the dream.

And there’s another sign to put up – the headstone. This marker isn’t colorful, yet we family members hope it will be tasteful and meaningful. This is our last gift to Herschel – our way of honoring who he was through the words we’ve chosen. The headstone, or grave marker, then, describes the person’s essence.

Both signs are small. Both are poignant. Both show the end of visions. Both point to the end of a chapter in my life. I now get to really live the second part of the blog byline, “and it’s all good.” Yes, it truly is for the good, even if I cannot see it now. There will be new visions, new goals, and new vistas to discover. There will be a new chapter to write.

Signs, markers – they can indicate change, they can point to new directions. Come follow along!