Friday, October 21, 2011
Ten years ago this past summer.. I went to Great Outdoor Provision Company in Greensboro and bought a pair of Lowa hiking boots for my trip to Montana. These shoes were on my feet when we arrived at the KOA in the June snow and I realized that we would be living next to a cesspool with a fountain in the middle of it. Tears fell on the laces when we were lost and exhausted in the grizzly recovery area later that summer. They were splashed by the streams flowing in and around Yellowstone as Stephen and I explored that summer. And they were trembling on the sandy ground when Stephen asked me to marry him by that lake in Idaho. I wore them with pride on camping trips in the Blue Ridge. I tied them on tight when we packed the trailer for New Jersey and I wore them with pride while we unpacked. I started to notice that not many folks in Bloomfield went tromping around in hiking shoes. These loyal shoes made way for high heeled boots and more trendy ballet flats in the closet in Brooklyn. They were always there, peaking out from under my shoe rack. Waiting for me to return to my roots.
Then we were in NC again. Pretty sure I have worn them at least once since we moved here.. but not much more than that. That was more than three years ago. I don't even have a plausible excuse for not going on more hikes since we have been here. It breaks my heart when I think of the mountains just sitting there.. waiting. My shoes.. sitting there.. waiting. Waiting for me. What have I been waiting for? More gas money to get there.. more time to drive there.. more energy to get the five of us up there.. there is always something I seem to need more of.
Last weekend I dug these old shoes out of my closet and decided to wear them to the State Fair. They would be good sturdy shoes to tromp around the Fair in. They weren't. Within minutes of getting through the front gates they began to fall apart. The soles were coming off and they flapped like a big tongue catching on the sidewalk when I tried to walk. I begged some duck tape off some good ol' boys in the Heritage Village. Patched them up. Walked on. An hour or so later the soles were so far gone that I could no longer continue and had to sit, laughing, on a bench while Stephen went to find another duck tape donation. This time I went for broke. I wrapped that tape every which way around those shoes.. willing them to become duck tape moccasins. Ignoring the looks I got plunking around in these pathetic things. Laughing at my predicament. They stayed on my feet and once I took them off in the car I was ready to throw them right in the trash can. But I just couldn't do it. They have sat in my kitchen for a week now. I actually felt a pang of regret when I tossed them just now. Why was it so hard for me to let go of this part of my past..? I feel sort of lost without them and I don't know why. All sorts of metaphors could be drawn from this story. Not in the mood for metaphors. Just sad about losing my shoes. Sad, and missing my old friends.