Old Boots Never Die

I finally had to pony up for a new pair of hiking boots but it feels like I am betraying the pair purchased a mere six years ago. These boots have carried me over miles of jungle, hammered over portions of the Appalachian Trail, climbed over fallen logs, squished through swamp edges, splashed through puddles, slogged through mud up to their shoelaces, have been sprayed, powdered, debugged, hosed down, scuffed and banged, not to mention squashed by long hours of supporting my body as it swayed to and fro while searching the tops of tree branches looking for anything with wings.

My old boots have been faithful friends. They are part of my history of exploring this world. You can see the worn suede where the shoelaces were pulled tight, the permanent curve in the shoe where my foot breaks over, the trail dirt embedded in the metal lace ties. There are faded grass stains on the toes. The tongue is torn on the right boot. The treads are flattening out. I slipped several times last summer. By the end of a day of birding, my feet were sore and blistered. It was time for them to retire.

But I cannot just toss them into the trash. They have been a part of me too long. They are full of good memories of striding along woodland paths or slipping through the rain forest at dawn. I’ve lost count of how many birds I have seen while standing firm in them on this uncertain earth. They still speak to me of possibilities, of places to explore and discover, spiraling pathways and rocky trails. Just because they are getting old and worn does not mean they are useless. There is a wisdom in these old boots, a reminder to never stop seeking my own path. 

I have a new pair now and have been clumping around the house in them to be sure they are comfy. Yesterday, we took our maiden voyage around the lake, up and down our mountain roads. They are light, stick to the slopes and waterproof. But like all good friendships, it will take awhile to get comfortable and learn how much I can trust them in unfamiliar territory, find out just how supportive they will be when the going gets tough. But I expect we will do just fine in our walks into wonder. Want to come along?

This entry was posted in Applachian trail, birds, dirt, hiking boots, rain forest. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Old Boots Never Die

  1. Very fancy new boots, have lots of good times in them! Maybe you don't have to toss aside your old friends, you could frame that picture of them as a keepsake.Or maybe you could get them bronzed, like they do with baby shoes! Just kidding.

  2. deejbrown says:

    My old boots will be out puttering in the garden come spring, maybe even cut the lawn! There is some short-wear time in them yet!

  3. Yes, we want to come along!

  4. Chris Petrak says:

    Wonderful image of the old friends. But I find that as I increasingly wear out, I need new friends to keep me going – hope yours do that for you.

  5. dlg says:

    I keep my old hiking boots in the trunk of my car. Right next to my “new” boots (which are already a year and a half old). They remind me of the miles I've covered, the adventures I've had, and the shop in Montana where I bought them oh-so-many years ago when I succumbed to this love for trekking. They double as snow boots in a pinch — but that's just the excuse I make for not tossing them in the trash. Glad to know I'm not alone!

  6. I love how you can take something as routine as buying a new pair of boots and turn it into beautiful prose. I hope your new boots will faithfully carry you to new heights.

  7. I will kee my old boots, what I need are new knees and a right hip!

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