It is curious how footwear plays such an important role in certain iconic stories and fairy tales. From Cinderella’s glass slippers to Dorothy’s ruby slippers, shoes have played a prominent role in changing the lives of some fictional heroines. In reality, there are some people who give the same reverence and level of importance to their own menagerie of footwear. I am not one of those people.
Shoes have quite literally tripped me up since birth. I arrived in this world with significantly pigeon-toed feet that necessitated me being fit with corrective shoes that I wore until second or third grade. I longed for the cool shoes that my friends wore, but I was relegated to the sensible shoes sideline. Perhaps, this shoe exposure during my formative years extinguished all hope of me developing a love for designer footwear ala Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City”. Despite graduating from corrective shoes long ago, I still lack the fashionable footwear found in many closets. When some style mavens inquired whether or not I owned any high heels, I innocently responded with, “Do kitten heels and wedges count?” Their gasps of horror and pity let me know that they most certainly did not count. Luckily, though, I have a pair of shoes that does count. . .
Much like when Dorothy donned those ruby slippers and headed down the yellow brick road, whenever I put on my trail running shoes, they take me on a new path of self-discovery and, in the end, always lead me home, literally and figuratively. They may not be as colorful, sparkly, or coveted as Dorothy’s ruby slippers, but my trail running shoes are every bit as magical. For it has nothing to do with the shoes actually, but rather, it has everything to do with the person wearing them. On today’s trail run, I was reminded that this person is me, and I, too, have had this power all along.
Trail running affords me the peace, joy, and contentment that I often hear yoga and meditation devotees describe, and while I may exit the trails bloodied or bruised from a spill, the invisible wounds to my mind, heart, and baby soul that have occurred off of the trails are healed a bit more with each step. There is a transformative power that results when mud, sweat, and, sometimes, tears, both happy and bittersweet ones, are combined, and that proved to be a winning combination for me once again.
I used to trail run with a friend, but I now choose to run alone, as it feels far too vulnerable to allow anyone else to share that sacred space with me. It is one of the few places in the world where I can quiet myself and be completely present in the moment, and it is in that time and space that I have learned some of my greatest lessons and released some of my most painful thoughts and emotions. Today was no different, as I let go of some things that have been weighing heavily on me recently, and I regained my emotional footing yet one more time.
I didn’t click my heels together three times to return home, instead I ran with wild abandon through a cathedral of trees and along winding trails. It is where I feel both the safest and the most exposed. It is where I sometimes enter lost, but always come out found. I am home, and there’s no place like it.
That’s another story. . .
Categories: That's Another Story