Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pink Sneakers, Heathered Hope and Uphill Walking

I found these shoes in Inverness on a sale rack for £5. Although I am not usually a pink person, I found them irrestible. Their sturdy rubber soles and matter of fact laces were just like the Keds of my childhood. When I wore my Keds, I felt invincible. I was convinced that I could climb any hill or outrun any of the boys on the block. Even after I knew better, I still believed in the magic of such shoes to lighten spirits and steps, and I have been much in need of both spirit and step lightening. I'll explain a bit more about that in some other posts. I am running behind time because the weight of things had flattened me so that I could not write or knit--two of the things that almost always help me get my rhythm back. It goes without saying that I was not eating or sleeping very well either.

When I confided to a friend back in Indiana that I felt as if I had been on an uphill climb for a long, long time, she assured me that I was a great one for uphill walking. She cited examples of things we had done together as evidence of that. The things she mentioned had not felt like uphill walking because I had not been alone back then. Even so, my friend has the heart of a lion and the faith to will herself back to walking when MS tried to slow her down. No matter how I felt, I did not want to disappoint her, so I found the courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other, which sometimes is enough. That led me to the pink Keds.

Morris has this uncanny knack of finding friends wherever he goes. I met 'the other Morris' as he was known and Roddy and radiography technicians. Roddy, the two Morrises, and I talked about Steinbeck and The Scots Quair, which I had just bought in a marvelous little bookstore in a quirky corner of Scotland (more about that, too, in another post), while they waited their turns for treatment: a brief respite to remember more than the vagaries of our physical selves.

In between treatments and conversations with his newfound friends, Morris and I had a weekend together in the open air. We had not been for a run in the country for more than two months, and the weather obliged us. We went to Mallaig and then over to the Isle of Skye on a ferry. The heather was in full bloom and punctuated the broad green-brown-grey hills with its purple smile. I managed to get not only a reasonable photo of heather in bloom but also to have words come flowing back into my head along with the scent of the heather. An entire story flew into the window and has lingered with me. Even if I do not write it down, I am gratified to have words back dancing in my head.

Before I left for Inverness, I had a phone call from the library here in town. I still struggle to understand phone conversations, so I had only the gist to go on: "library", "book you might be interested in". I was so delighted to be thought of that I thanked her and looked forward to the book no matter what it was. Today I picked it up and discovered that it is a truly inspiring knitting book, so I expect to be back at my needles, too.

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At 6:38 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

When she gets new gym shoes my wife always says she can do anything.

Because it's the shoes. (Sure it is.)

At 11:01 PM, Blogger knicksgrl0917 said...

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At 4:50 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

The source of magic may be illusory, but the power is undeniable! When I worked in an office I would occasionally haeva red shyoe day--sensible pumps, low heels but a very bright red.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger Gabriel Harley said...

When I wore my Keds, I felt invincible. I was convinced that I could climb any hill or outrun any of the boys on the block. Even after I knew better, I still believed in the magic of such shoes to lighten spirits and steps

I can't help but be reminded of Douglas Spaulding's new summer sneakers in Dandelion Wine. Faster than the wind, or death itself. Here's hoping you'll remain buoyant on those newfound pink wings for many months to come...


At 9:20 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Oh thanks for the kind comments and the lovely reminder of Dandelion Wine. I loved that book. I think I may see if I still have a copy here somewhere and use it to recapture summer. This year summer has been measured in hours rather than even days. My poor spirit could use some intense Indiana sunshine.


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