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Footwear for Spring
It’s now September
Before I sit down to write this, I kick off my shoes. Actually that is a lie. I couldn’t kick them off if I tried. They are solidly laced up boots and make my feet look enormous. There is a little felt bootie which you put on first and then you have the solid rubber snow boot over top. Eos has a fondness for the bootie and looked at me oddly this morning as I put them on as if to say ‘that is my toy you are wearing’. The reason for the boots, you see it snowed. It lasted what felt like a minute and is now an urban rumour. As I write the snow has been replaced by the sun which feels intense. You appreciate warmth after a day when the high was 6 degrees.
We have had suggestions of snow many times over the winter but it never came. It doesn’t seem to anymore. Years previous you were always guaranteed at least a solid snow dump which prompted the much cherished snow day off work. I think that was the main reason the snow boots where brought. For that one day a year when they were required.
“In the deep valley, in the twilight, the apple trees were on the eve of blossoming; here and there among the shadowed boughs one flower had opened early, rose and white, like a faint star”
-Ursula K Le Guin
It is earlier in the week and it is nearing 5pm. Thoughts head towards what to create for dinner and I have come inside after spending time in the garden. I had been just sitting on the lawn, soaking up the warmth of the sun after some garden work. I trundle inside and I realise for the first time this year I’ve been padding around in bare feet. For me bare feet are my standard summer footwear so for it to be warm enough to not have to think about socks feels like a significant step away from winter and the constant looking for matching socks to make pair.
Sometimes a scent tells the story better than words or images. I was picking some jasmine for the hallway. Optimistically I might add, for despite flowering solidly through out the winter it has decided to slow down and pause for bit. I did manage to find a few blooms that were open. While standing picking my treasured stems, a delicate smell wafted past. It was the smell of the hive. The warmth of the day had encouraged the drift of this wonderful scent. This smell is one that warms my heart and if I could bottle it I would. It is not just the smell of honey, although it features prominently. It is something more. It is warmth. It is the smell of a number of flowers visited by many bees. It is the smell of work. The productive community that is the hive. It is one my favourite smells. It feels reassuring and it feels true.
I find my Birkenstock sandals. They are comfortable footwear although they feel odd on my feet after months of socks and slippers. I am reminded to buy red nail polish to paint my toes, ready for summer. The inside soles of them are shiny, polished. Worn from the many steps I took last summer. I nerd it up and wear socks as the day draws to a close and the air begins to cool. I am at an age where comfort out ways looks, plus I couldn’t find my slippers. I think a little dog may have taken them.
I start something new. A course called ‘return to self’. It is a year long and it is designed to explore your creativity. Your purpose and so many other things. I signed up months ago and when suddenly faced with the start of the course thoughts of why I am doing this enter my head. We have our first zoom session and through garbled words I try and express what I feel, the confusion and uncertainties that had been building up over the winter months. I say the words and they are placed in the light to be inspected and looked. Reviewed. Some will be tossed aside. False thoughts. Others will be held close and cherished encouraged. I feel more at ease and then I start to fall in love with the idea of making space to explore this part of myself. The space to create without pressure - just explore. I start to take self portraits again. I try a new lens. They are haphazard and wonky but I love the feeling of making and learning. It seems that part of me got lost over the winter. It feels like a good time to start something new. Spring, the time of new beginnings.
Red band gum boots are an institution in NZ. I have three pairs, one pair at the front door, the other at the back. Another pair are in the car. Emergency beekeeping gum boots for those times I forget mine when we are out with the bees. They are man’s size 7. I am a women’s size 7. Brought in error they make for an amusing sight as I stomp across a paddock in my bee suit with wobble feet from wearing too big boots. My gum boots are most cherish and I love wearing them. They feel like my truest footwear. They mean work. They have me doing things.