These are my Boots

 

These are my boots.

Made of a sturdy core-rated to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Eight tight-fitting hooks lacing halfway up my calf. Solid black 2″ sole- waterproof. Walking in them felt like a commitment to do something great. I was going somewhere in these boots, they were going to take me to an amazing place. The last big adventure.

There have been a good many adventures all together. I’ve traveled enough to be terminally addicted to it and yet still too new at it to be humble. Every person I meet I try to interject some little bit of worldly experience I’ve had into the conversation.

“I see you’re drinking tea- they love tea in England. You know-I’ve been there-stared for hours at Stonehenge”

England was the first. I’ll never get the smell of it off me. Like a heady incense it just sits in my mind, murmuring stories about low hills and hazy pubs.  Before too long I had collected a small cup full of adventures.  From nude beaches on Caribbean islands to arctic geo-thermal pools in Iceland, I’ve never gotten enough.

I have contemplated death and morality in the barracks of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Celebrated life at the Love Parade with 1 million dancers in the streets of Berlin. Explored the 300 Meter depths of the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland. I have even- kissed the Blarney stone. One late night after an evening of dancing and revelry, I meandered through a life-sized chess game. Climbed the low walls of Salzburg castle and slept the night there. In the morning I woke to find the piercing sun skip across the domed towers of the city. Drinking up these experiences I simply thirst for more. The next adventure-the next fascinating people. The world is mine.

These are my boots.

It took me a couple of days to pick just the right ones. Warm enough to shield my feet from the bitter climes but comfortable enough for the long trek ahead. A place of powerful history and natural majesty. My greatest adventure yet- Tibet. The process to get there would be daunting.  Complicated Visa and travel manifests. Warnings to avoid politically sensitive areas. It all worked to create a fervor in my mind.

I imagined myself walking the thousand rooms of the Potala Palace. Built in the 7th Century, I would be overcome by the magnificence of it’s beauty-the walls covered in murals-the gilded pillars. My boots would take me around the Bakhor street- haggling with street vendors for Dzi beads from Heaven. I would stop to respect the pilgrims as they make their way in a slow holy motion around the Potala taking first one step then prostrating along the ground all the way around the palace. My boots would take me on snowy treks ending in sublime mountain vistas. All these visions occupied my waiting hours. My heart beat fast knowing that in 2 weeks I would be wending my way along mountain tops. Meeting a people so vastly different from my own. My wanderlust pulled at me almost painfully.

These are my boots.

“I’m sorry miss. I just can’t sign this release form”

“Excuse me”? My reverie momentarily spoiled.

“I’ve read all the research you sent me. It appears to be safe but I’m not comfortable signing this. There just isn’t enough research regarding the effects of that kind of altitude at 7 months pregnant…I’m sorry”

The doctor walked out of the sterile little room as I was still building my rebuttal. Socked feet dangling over the side of the exam bed, I felt rather foolish. In the mirror I was forced to look at what he must have seen. Napkin dress pulled over my extended belly, disheveled red hair falling long across my eyes – dark from lack of sleep. Is this it? Is this how the adventure ends? Having a baby wasn’t supposed to stop my dreams and yet here I was, denied. Tears of frustration built and I quickly swept them away. No- I wouldn’t let this be the end. There was still one thing he didn’t know. What he couldn’t see was the furnace of my heart- strong and confident.

These are my boots.

Most days they just sit quietly in the closet. Year after year patiently waiting for me. We have small trips together now-rushing hand built snow forts, hauling winter sleds filled with laughter. Unexpectedly I have found a whole new kind of experience- one that does not require a passport. My own backyard has become a landscape of adventure. After a long day of scaling the hidden depths of my imagination I tuck my boots in for the night, they sleep with dreams of frozen mountains. Resting next to them now are two tiny boots. Bright pink-happy and impetuous-they run, never walk. Someday, those little boots will join me and we will go exploring the Potala Palace together.

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