Friday, May 14, 2010

Those Shoes

I’ve been thinking about getting rid of those shoes. Last week I had to have a pipe fixed in my basement and I went down there to clear some space for the plumber to get through. As I walked through the door, just over to my left was the sagging, cracked plastic barrel of laundry basket where the last ones live. There was a pair of dark blue Keds on top, a tiny fraying eye of hole appearing just below the big toe on the left one. I tear up my canvas sneakers the same way. Or used to. I don’t really wear them anymore. My feet are too tough on things. I sometimes wish they could be more delicate, less determined. My mother’s shoes show those things too. There aren’t any high heeled stilettos in this beige plastic latticed broken barrel. Heelless Clarks loafers, yes, and Birkenstocks with the soles going soft. And a pair of burgundy New Balance walking shoes with the laces knotted short and tight. I wonder if she pulled those off over her ankles, the way I do? One of those heedless rushing habits we might have shared.
When I saw the basket of shoes I began to pull them up out of each other. I kept coming back to the blue Keds. They seemed to strain mutely to go back into the heap. A spider turned out to be living in the arch of one of them. It scuttled out when I dropped it, a comma of legs and fat round center angling for safety under an old chest of drawers. For some reason I waited for a skittering confetti of spider babies to come after it. I’d read about that happening and about how infant arachnids will fill up all the space around them like a pulsing carpet of potential web. When nothing showed up I shook the sneaker vigorously, but only a furl of graying lint, shaped like some obscure piece of punctuation I didn’t recognize, fell out. I plucked at the hole in the side of the left shoe and threw it back into the barrel.

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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or