We walk many a mile in our lives, our shoes are almost part of us. Our choice of footwear is a representation of our personalities, they are us. I used to have quite the shoe collection, mostly dominated by worn out cowboy boots, my favourite choice for many years. But they’re a bit showy and impractical in my line of work, so they’ve all gone bar one pair. What I wear now is all about hard-wearing practicality. Handmade. Leather.
Years ago, I chose to live a life with less stuff, but still with stuff…just useful stuff. Like I mentioned, I like stuff that will last because it’s hard wearing and practical. Not stuff that’s necessarily in fashion, but more so I like the ‘won’t let me down’ kind stuff. Hence my love for leather boots, in particular these old boots. I’ve been a bit slack in caring for them of late. Just too distracted with the daily jobs of life. But my lack of care withstanding, they’ve served me well. They keep me feet dry walking in long grass on a hunt. They comfort me on the coldest days of winter, and they’re often the barrier between me and mud. They give and give, and I’ve been a bad host. Leather is like a relationship, it needs love. Each time I tie those laces I tell myself I should treat them soon, but I get occupied with planting new veg, cooking, or just being busy being a dad.
The way I’ve treated my old worn out boots, is similar to how we tend to treat nature. We take and take and really give little in return. I know I go on about this but it’s the undeniable reality. It’s something visible to even the untrained eye. Our houses are filled with stuff, all made with natural resources as the base. This computer I’m typing on used natural resources. The clothes I wear, natural resources. So that makes all these things all the more precious. Instead of discarding items when they seem less useful, appropriate or out of fashion, is it not better for us to retain them, to wear them out completely before replacing them? This is what I ask myself. This is what I end up thinking about when I’m rubbing bee’s wax leather treatment over my worn out boots. I wish I didn’t think so much about this stuff, just shut up and polish the damn boots Rohan.
Over the last few months, we’ve been either selling or giving away many of the items in our house that are not necessary to us. Other people can get some use out of them, as long as they’re not discarded to trash. One thing that can’t be discarded is these old boots. With a little love they’ll serve me many a year. And as I age so too will my boots. They will scar as I do, they will tell stories as I will and eventually like me, they will outlive their purpose and be returned to nothing but mere particles in a world that is forever changing and recycling itself, towards the inevitable. But for now these old boys are now ready to face the new day.