Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Post in Pictures: the cliffs of Britain and a river in Idaho

When I traveled to England with my friend Holly in April 2015, one of the last excursions we took was to the White Cliffs of Dover. There we hiked from a near sea level visitor's center and gift shop up the cliff trail past many sheep to a bright little tea room in a charming old lighthouse. On the way to and from that lighthouse my knee-high boots picked up a thick layer of the white dust from the cliffs and rested in it for some time, too, as we chatted with friendly Britons and watched some wild ponies in a hollow. Months after we returned home, I pulled out those boots to wear again as the fall weather grew cooler in Arizona and, lo and behold, the dust of Britain was still on them.

My shoes knew where I had been, and they carried crystalline memories. I almost didn't brush off those boots, but I figured I'd just be tracking Dover everywhere.

Recently, new suede Puma tennis shoes of mine picked up memories as my family and I hiked and climbed a little way along the Payette River in Idaho.

We went to Idaho to see family and saw more family in that state than my children even knew we had - the appearance of some of those dear relatives completely unexpected. 

Then, on a day when we didn't have much planned and I was begging my husband to be serendipitous, we drove up past Black Canyon Dam, searching for a place to experience some Idaho country. We pulled off the road at a spot where we practically slid down a slope of dry pine needles to river rocks, and there my kids and I scrambled all over the place, watching the intermittent white water and listening to its rhythm. On a huge sloped boulder, I laid down on my belly in the sunshine, slowly sliding down toward the white sand at its base, that same light sand that is now embedded in my shoes.

I may not brush off these shoes. Sometimes you have to go home again to realize it's home. I lived in Idaho for most of my teenage years - camping, fishing, spending holidays and ordinary days with relatives - but I don't believe I really appreciated it til I brought my own little family back with me.

With these dusty sneakers, I can carry home with me wherever I go.

And I believe my tall brown boots still have a bit of Dover on them, too.

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