Changing of the Guard

I've owned this pair of New Balance All-Terrain hiking shoes for the better part of ten years. For the last five years, they've been at the bottom tier of shoe use for me: yard work shoes. Tonight I decided they gave it their all, and tossed them in the trash.
I’ve owned this pair of New Balance All-Terrain hiking shoes for the better part of ten years. For the last five years, they’ve been at the bottom tier of shoe use for me: yard work shoes. Tonight I decided they gave it their all, and tossed them in the trash.

Everyone measures their lives by different benchmarks, large and small. Some people think of it in terms of their children: schools and band trips and summer vacations. Others think in terms of lovers come and gone, or Christmases and Thanksgivings. One way I mark time is by my shoes. Tonight is one of those benchmarks, as the blue New Balance All-Terrain hikers have officially been retired. After six or seven seasons of mowing, weed-eating, branch-lopping, and gardening, they were about as worn out as I can imagine a shoe can be in America. They have been replaced by my Vasque hiking shoes I bought in Moab in 2009.

Last night I dreamed that my office decided to lay off a bunch of us “because we knew too much,” presumably about the CIA. As the dream moved along, I couldn’t find Abby and called her name, but reasoned that if I opened my eyes, she would be right there with me, so I did, and she was.

As our day progressed, I made breakfast for her, and found an odd significance in the simple words, “Honey, here’s your breakfast.” Maybe it was domestic bliss, and maybe it was a sense of purpose, but it felt great.

Last night I used the DR mower to cut down the pasture around my burgeoning walnut grove, and tonight I pruned the trees in the grove and mowed around them. It’s another benchmark. This work is a visceral, powerful, natural activity. In some ways, it has as much purpose as anything else I do.

My efforts to convert the walnut grove into a more civlilized portion of our patch were successful, but stirred up a huge amount of dust, seen here in the midst if the trees I pruned and mowed under tonight.
My efforts to convert the walnut grove into a more civlilized portion of our patch were successful, but stirred up a huge amount of dust, seen here in the midst if the trees I pruned and mowed under tonight.
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