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 They have been replaced by my Vasque hiking shoes I bought in Moab in 2009.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.