We left home in a break between squalls. The sky was a pendulous presence above and the clouds, at once stormy and ethereal, followed us the whole drive. Sean was ahead of us with “the boys” as Finley put it. Beso, our cocker spaniel, and Pippin, our male tabby were riding amid the potted plants, tools, and signs Sean had packed for camp. Briar was still in Paris, so it was Finley and Avery, with Luna, our moody calico, in a small animal carrier in my car, along with fresh towels and other things I’d packed.
The week had been a whirlwind of meetings and photo shoots, takings us as far as New Hampshire, as we entered the first full week of the girls’ summer vacation.It’s never easy, but in all the years, I’ve never remembered it being quite this frenetic. By the time we’d dropped the animals off at camp and inhaled a dinner at our favorite local joint, I was in a state of decompression that seemed to be happening without me. You know those times when your mind or your body take over because you have so completely failed to assert yourself?
Sean walked the girls back to the car as I hoofed it to the grocery store a block away. I listened to their voices fading as they walked one way. I turned away from the restaurant and into the small adjacent lot. It has a garden of sorts and the lands is a bit wild. I looked around and before I’d really thought it through my shoes were off. I wiggled my toes in the grass and looked up at the sky. Laughter was bubbling up in the back of my throat and I knew that in shucking my shoes I’d let go of so much more. Not forever, but the trick is that we don’t need to let go forever, we just need the wherewithal to allow ourselves a bit of treading barefoot instead of treading water. We need to unlace and unfasten, so that we can be reminded of the benefit of dirt under our nails and night air on our face.
My last real act of doing in the month of June involved walking barefoot beneath a starry Vermont sky. The next day I held onto that idea of letting go. I jumped in the water with my girls and danced in the waning sun because taking off our shoes and setting aside our worries comes in many different forms, we just have to be willing to accept them.
Are you ready? Can you flip off your shoes?