Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lacing Up One Last Time

Have you ever had a pair of shoes that seemed like an old friend? You know, the kind of shoe that makes your feet happy, puts some pep in your step, and fits perfectly? These crazy neon hikers are that shoe for me. I've used them up and worn them out. 

Like so many other material possessions who have served their purpose, it's time to let them go. When something no longer meets our needs, when the beauty dulls to a worn patina, and eventually gives way to a state of disrepair, it is time to release our hold on the belongings that once caught our eye.

At the end of last summer, I needed a new pair of hiking shoes. My older son convinced me to try the latest minimalist style of shoe. Enter the New Balance Minimus MT00 Trail Running Shoe. I was in love in every way. I was drawn to the technical features of the shoe, almost as much as the funky color. 

Dylan has accused me, more than once, of selecting a pair of shoes based solely on their wildness. It's true. The uglier, the better. Lately, I am drawn to vibrant colors, crazy patterns, and unusual designs.

The Minimus is the lightest weight shoe I've ever owned. The Vibram sole has "grippy pods," making them perfect for crossing expanses of rock, and rough, uneven terrain. The lightweight upper is designed to be worn without socks, but I generally chose to wear the thinnest socks I had. I was drawn to the neon yellow color, descriptively called "tendershoots."

I have worn these shoes everywhere...hiking to Calf Creek Falls and Willis Slot Creek Canyon, poking around farmers' markets in Ogden and Denver, wandering along the headlands in Mendocino, California, biking the Marysvale Canyon, and walking in Joseph. In the last year, they have been my go-to casual shoe for outdoor activities.

They remind me of my favorite jeans in the seventies that I kept a little too long because they fit my body like a glove. The holes give them character. They've seen me through some dark days, hiking high into the canyon as I tried to outrun the grief and despair of the last winter. We've taken long walks with Marley, gone on phenomenal hikes with my kids, and explored slot canyons with friends. 

It may seem silly to be sentimental about a pair of shoes, but now that I have worn down the soles, and the holes in the uppers are letting sand and small gravel in, I am realizing their time has come. The symbolism of letting go tugs at my heart. I've had to release so much this year. Goodbyes are hard for me, even with a silly pair of shoes. 

Looking on the bright side, I get to go shopping for new hikers. The thrill of the hunt will lure me into finding the perfect pair of shoes that speaks to my inner GRANOLA GIRL. It's time to let these go to make room for the new. I'm lacing them up one more time, for old time's sake. The sun has just crested the Joe Town Hill. We'd best be heading out for our walk before the day gets too hot. I'm going to miss these shoes.

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