Sunday, April 8, 2012
Time for a change
Ten years ago, just before I left for a writers conference in Big Bear, I stopped by the post office and picked up a package I’d been anxiously awaiting from Lands End. I opened the box to find a pair of brown leather hiking boots. Know how some women get excited over a new pair of stylish heels? Yeah, that’s me with hiking boots. I put them on and wore them for the duration of the weekend, taking several long walks while at the conference. They fit perfectly. I loved them. They became my new best friends.
I wore them hiking in Azusa Canyon, climbing up the steep rock face to sit by my favorite secret waterfall.
I wore them hiking in Santa Anita Canyon, down the single track trail that leads along the stream to Hermit Falls, and I had them on that fateful Fourth of July when the ranger came by to say the gate at the bottom of the road would be closing early that night. I hurried down to find I’d been locked in… but I was rescued by a handsome stranger….
I wore them hiking in the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona, while on a visit to writer Willma Gore. I came back from that amble with red dust all over those boots… and I brought some home to Cali with me.
Of course, I wore them to hike in Mt. Baldy—up to Sunset Peak, up the trail to the Sierra Club hut, up to Bear Flats on the Bear Canyon trail, and of course, countless times on the Ice House Canyon Trail to Cedar Glen or the saddle. I had them on the day Patty Walker and I took a walk up that trail to Kelly’s Camp. We started—lazily—at 9:00a.m. on a weekday in late summer. When we arrived at the saddle, she asked me if I’d brought food.
“Of course,” I said, as I began pulling granola bars and grapes from my pack. She smirked and told me to put my food away, she’d brought enough for both of us. And then she began unpacking a feast—fresh mozzarella cheese floating in olive oil and bruschetta to slap it on, along with thick tomato slices. While I marveled at the miracle of the food reviving me, she fired up her camp stove and brewed some tea. When she pulled out the apricot tart, I asked her if I’d died on the trail and had arrived in heaven. We hiked on to Kelly’s Camp that day to lie in the meadow in the afternoon sun and listen to the sound of water trickling from the mountain. On the way back down, as evening came on, we watched a doe and her fawn grazing on a far slope. We were gone ten hours that day. It is a piece of my life I hope I never forget.
Those plain brown hiking boots shared a lot of memories with me. And I wore them out, wore down the soles to the nubs and kept wearing them until the lacing unraveled.
Last week on Spring Break, I bought a new pair of hiking boots. It took some serious inner dialogue, but I finally had the courage to toss the old worn out boots in the trash.
Spring is all about renewal and rebirth. Can’t wait to see what adventures these new boots take me on.