Saturday, October 18, 2008

Red Shoes

I'm wearing my red shoes today. When asked why he sports his red Sauconys, Garrison Keillor once responded, "They help me to keep track of where my feet are." I find that very reasonable. Especially today. I was going to drive to the farmers market this morning, but when I stepped outside something in the air made me want to walk instead. Chilly deliciously autumny morning air. Also very foggy autumny morning air. I was very glad that I'd decided to wear my red shoes; otherwise I might have lost my feet in the clouds.

Speaking of feet on the ground, head in the clouds, I very glad that I decided to walk to the farmers market. Not only was I able to mmm stretch my legs a little bit (oh I miss sunrise walks, sunset walks, walks with my puppy, walks out into the desert, walking walking walking, see Thoreau. Or Pushkin or Tolstoy or Leopold or any number of Zen poets to understand the art of walking), but I saw all sorts of brilliant leaves along the sidewalk. There's such joy in discovering a leaf on the sidewalk -- a leaf with a particular color or shape or attitude that just commands attention, respect, appreciation. Appreciation for such pure beauty, delicate beauty.

The process of leaf-collection has four distinct dimensions: 1.
the serendipity of seeing a leaf 2. the realization that it has some sort of distinguishing characteristic 3. the almost involuntary desire/need to preserve it 4. cessation of whatever walk/conversation/activity you're engaged in 5. the actual act of picking the leaf up, with the associated surprise that such a poignant thing can feel so weightless 6. resumption of the interrupted walk/conversation/activity, but with a half-embarrassed, half-delighted little smile.

I have surrounded myself with leaves, collected from various sidewalks this autumn.

Leaves, and stones and driftwood and all sorts of silly happy things. But each of them would require pages more of description. And right now, my red shoes and I would rather go for a walk.

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