I think some boots are taken for granted. That may have to do with a couple of things. First, if you have good boots that are really comfortable, you tend not to notice them, but bad boots that hurt your feet with every step are hard to ignore. Then there are waterproof boots. If they don’t leak, that’s great; if they do, you’re stuck with wet feet. And there’s nothing better than winter boots that keep your feet happy—ones that leave you with cold toes are no good. Around here boots have been and remain a big part of our lives. In fact, the banner on our website is a couple of boot-clad feet walking in shallow water. The name of our book company is Feet Wet Writing, and our logo features a boot.
We have many different kinds of boots. Waders, hip boots, hikers, knee-high snow boots, steel toe, and pac boots. All of them well used. I have a couple of pairs of shoes also, but they’re mostly reserved for weddings and funerals.
I have boot favorites. Two pairs made by L.L. Bean among them: one for warm weather, one for cold. They are lace-up boots with leather tops and chain tread rubber soles. I’ve covered a lot of country in those boots, and I am proud to say that I have worn the soles out three times each. No problem, send them back to Bean, they re-sole them, fix the leather, and send them back good as new.
When I was in law enforcement, I really got to like pull-on boots—comfortable, leather, good soles and tough. One reason I liked that kind was because the open top allowed me to carry a backup gun in an ankle holster, covered and secure, but accessible. I still like that kind of boot. As a matter of fact, I am wearing a pair as I write this.
I wonder what my boots would say if they could talk. They just might tell stories of grand adventure and mishap.
My waders would surely tell you about the time I walked across snow covered ice and broke through a spring hole up to my neck when the air temperature was twelve below zero, and I was two miles from the truck.
My law enforcement boots would tell you about chasing a wanted felon up a stairway to an old two flat. He slammed and locked the door. I kicked at the lock on the hollow-core door and missed. My foot, followed by my leg, went all the way through. I was stuck.
My winter Bean boots would certainly tell you about carrying me up to the top of an Icelandic glacier where we looked out at a vast prehistoric wetland complex draining into the north Atlantic.
But more likely my boots might talk about simple things. Leisurely walks through the woods, prairies, and wetlands. Renewing old acquaintances with the neighborhood wildlife. Wading into the water to get a little closer to the spot I’m trying to cast to. Enjoying the autumn migration or winter wonderland.
To me, good boots are kind of like a story. The right book is a good fit. I try to make my books comfortable, easy to read. Maybe take us to a new place or perhaps one we’ve visited before. For me, nature is a story worth telling that constantly unfolds in front of me. So, when I write, one of my goals is to share the land with you. In that regard I have had some success. I have met many people over the past few years who share my passionate love of the land; people who understand a good pair of boots can take you anywhere.
Treasure the land, our traditions, and the good people around us. What stories would your boots tell? Happy Holidays to all.