Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Walking In Another's Shoes.

I'M sure that if you didn't hear it from your mother, you certainly heard it from a teacher or read it somewhere: that bit about walking a mile in another person's moccasins.
At yoga class on Tuesday night I went to get my shoes by the door and found them gone. There was another similar pair, but they weren't mine. They were the same brand and kind of shoes (Dansko clogs), but they were shiny black, not oiled leather ones. "Close but no cigar," goes another saying.
Someone helpfully suggested another pair on the shelves, but they were about a size 10 and looked like men's shoes. I don't think so!
I took the shoes into the office and told Marie, the instructor, that someone had mistakenly taken my shoes, and I would wait a while to see if she came back. Otherwise, I'd leave my phone number and wear these home, since they fit perfectly. I couldn't walk in my socks to the other end of the rough wet pavement. I ended up wearing them home.
The left shoe was bigger than the right and loose on my foot. The arches seemed to fit better than mine had. That was nice. I walked carefully to the car in the darkness, trying not to bump them against the curb. They were pretty nice and in good shape.
Since I had planned my wardrobe for the next day, and the pair of shoes I was going to wear were the clogs, I wore the stranger's shoes.
I wondered what she did for a living. Where did these shoes take her every day? I usually felt pretty confident walking in my own pair of clogs and found myself striding along, but catching my toe every once in a while because for some strange reason these shoes reacted differently. They seemed a bit longer - or something. They just felt strange. The toes on the right shoe were a little tight. What must my shoes feel like to the stranger? Was she wearing them even then?
The shoes took me to work and then we drove to a doctor's appointment. The shoes eavesdropped on all my conversations. The shoes went with me on my search for Chinese takeout. The shoes went with me to carry in firewood.
Then they came off and I put on my tennis shoes. I checked my answering machine and there were three messages. One was from the stranger. I called her and she was so apologetic. I will meet her tomorrow, at Thursday yoga. We will exchange shoes and maybe I will learn a little about where my shoes went and what they did without me. What I want to know: Is my left shoe tight on her and will the four shoes talk about us while they're waiting on the shelf at tomorrow night's yoga class?
Some (a few) may remember the Living Leaves I made in memory of 9/11 on Sept. 11, 2008. I made a few leaves and others did too (search the Google bar at left for more on this story) and we hung them on trees in Forest Grove along Main Street. Well, today I went downtown and found one of the leaves on the ground - just laying there. It had been outside since September, through rain, wind and two of December's coldest, harshest snowiest weeks in 40 years, and this is what was still left. Down at the bottom are tiny words I can no longer read. I thought I saved a photo of the leaf when it was new, but I don't think I have it. The beeswax on the picture and Kraft paper have preserved it fairly well. I like the "patina" it's got now and it will go into my journal.
Sorry this is so long. I really get going, don't I?
There are just two more photos I wanted to show you and then I'm gone for tonight. One is of the memory of leaves - left imprinted on the sidewalk. Another is the grate around the base of a tree downtown. I hope life's being good to you and you've done something creative today. Keep an eye on your shoes - femminismo


~Barb~ said...

Reading about your shoes and walking in another's shoes felt very Zen-like to me. Just very "in the moment" kind of thing. Oh, the things you make me think of and focus on when you share your thoughts. I love that you make me think.
Peace & Love,

Brenda said...

I loved your story about the shoes, quite captivating the way you told it. Thanks!

Christy said...

I too loved your story. What a little diversion these shoes have made. I especially liked the last bit about if they would talk about you two during class.

femminismo said...

I can't believe you ladies read the whole thing! Thank you so much. You have lifted my soul this morning!! I'll contact you all personally, but just wanted to quickly share here first. - jeanne

Anonymous said...

Jeanne what a great post! Too funny about the clogs (I have the same kind - they are so comfortable). I often wish that objects could talk to us, tell us where they have been and what they have seen. Oh, the stories!!
Please follow up with your shoes side of the story tomorrow, I'm looking forward to hearing about their adventure.

Candace said...

Danskos are the best no matter whose are where.
Your posts are always cheering and inspiring, thoughtful and dreamlike... oh and the Living Leaves. What a grand thing to find one after all this time!