these are obviously not my favorite shoes. they aren't even my favorite pair of flip flops. aesthetically, they are the equivilent of an obese woman wearing a funny hat to distract people from the way her white swimsuit is obliterating itself. [metaphor=i have gangly feet. i should be able to eat szechuan chicken with chopsticks between my toes.]
i bought these flip flops years ago from the gap. no one else wanted them. i had three dollars, little judgement, and a wardrobe lacking flora.
on the other hand, they are as comfortable as walking through clouds made of puppy fur, baby flesh, cotton candy and d-cups. they made their way into my rotation once this summer after years of being bottom-closet dwellers. then i removed them from my feet, accidentally, in a location where they became convenient to wear again. and again. and again. now i wear them every day, pretty much.
today we went to amnicon falls, a national park in wisconsin, which looks like the movie set of what a wilderness should look like. there is where you should impale yourself on a jutting branch; here is where your lifeless body will be flung from a cliff; this is the tree from behind which the apeish man-child will stalk you as you frolick in the moderately temperatured, gnat-riddled stream.
"why, where there is so much pretty, does there have to be so much ugly?" chuck asked, eyeing our fellow amniconers.
i was crossing the water when my gaudy left flip flop got sucked up in the very-slow-moving rapids and dropped three rock levels before my cat-like reflexes responded. i stood with my bare foot on a rock, my flip flopped foot on another rock, and thought: well. there goes a dollar fifty.
i turned to go back in the other direction, and the other gaudy mess of flip flop was ripped from my foot and went tumbling after its partner.
"oh boy," i said.
this meant returning to the pine needled and rocky path and chasing after my footware all huck finn-style. shimmying the slippery banks, catching crappies and eating them raw, mud-caked dredlocks and the seering red glow of a sunburned irish girl.
"i'll help by taking photos," chuck said.
it took me lots of stabbing rock pain to get to them. first i had to reinact about four scenes from "raiders of the lost ark" and one from "goonies." eventually i was involved in the denounment of "poltregeist" when i found them bobbing together, ugly and unfashionable, in a small pool at the bottom of a fall.
it was a bittersweet reunion.
i slipped back into them. they still were not my favored hiking footware. but puppy fur, baby skin, cotton candy and d-cups beat the alternative. i took one step and the right flip flop broke. the strap yanked right through the hole, rendering it useless.
i sat on a rock to fix it.
i grew bored and frustrated at my lack of nimble-fingeredness.
i took both shoes off and went back the way i'd come. rocks. mud. the stream. ouch. ouch. ouch. aliens.
i handed chuck the shoe and asked if he could fix it. he found a stick, which he used to try to pry the strap back into the shoe.
"hmm ..." i said. "i bet that is just how the little chinese child originally made this shoe."
then he used his car keys, which i'm sure they haven't thought of yet.
we sat on a rock quietly watching the visitors. particularly two women across the water who were picking up pieces of nature and keeping them.
"you gonna make one of those pine cone wreaths?" chuck asked me.
"uh huh. that's what i'm giving everyone for christmas this year," i said.
"are you going to use all different kinds of pine cones or a bunch of the same?" he asked.
"hmmm ..." i said. "probably all the same. i may spray paint some of the cones, like, hot pink. you know, for the younger kids. they'd get a kick out of that."
"yeah," he said.
"except for my mom," i continued. "i gave her a pine cone wreath last year, so this year i'm knitting her a cozy for her kleenix box."
"wow," chuck said. "do you need a pattern for that, or do you just make it?"
"huh! yeah right," i said. "like i can knit a BOX! no. i use a pattern."
"oh." he said.
"and my dad is getting a jar filled with different rocks. you know, like grey ones and stuff," i said.
"you know what would be neat?" he asked. "if you took a photo of lake superior and used a glue stick to stick it to the inside of the jar."
"that would be neat," i agreed.
and from the photo archive:
WHAT I FOUND ON THE BACK OF MY HAND THE DAY AFTER FLAG DAY