Today, I am struggling with the need to put away my flops and surrender myself to shoe and sock season. With this thought comes sadness that summer, my favorite season, and the freedom that comes with going sockless, has come to an end. As the most unattractive purple colour is creeping into the skin tone of my toes, I have to acknowledge that the temperature has dipped to -1C this morning. It isn’t putting the socks on that makes me sad as much as the loss of freedom represented by taking my socks off.
While raising my kids, I loved the summers. Especially that first warm day where they yanked their socks off and left them at the back door, neglected until a date far off in the future. Toes exposed, this was my signal that other summer freedoms were on the way; freedom from schedules, authority, responsibility, routine and the freedom to come and go as we pleased.
Summer brought the flexibility to eat whenever we liked, switching to outdoor barbeques, salads and fresh fruit. While on vacation, we traded the rigid rules of good health for sugary snack-pack cereals that the kids could eat right from the box and marshmallows roasted on a stick by the campfire. If the kids got to bed late, oh well. The next day would be a little sleep-in followed by a little reading time on the deck. We took road trips to visit grandparents and cycled a portion of the extensive bike paths our city has to offer. But we always left a few plans undone to carry over to next summer. That way we could simply pick up where we left off when the socks came off again next year.
It always seemed that the pace picked up too soon and the hustle and bustle of preparing for the new school year snuck up on us. Donate the outgrown clothes, toss out the over-used items and replace them with new jackets, socks and backpacks. There were new shoes for indoor activities, new runners for physical education and new boots to make it through our long, cold winters. But there was new attitude that came with them that was undeniable.
And there was something else about fall. I remember, after lamenting the end of summer and family adventures, there was a feeling that fall was a time for new beginnings. The coolness eventually pushed us back indoors to tackle jobs that were put on hold for the summer. I wanted to clean windows before the snow flew and shampoo carpets before we had to close our doors to winter’s cold blast. I wanted to turn on the oven for winter’s comfort food and get cozy in my big wool sweater once again. I wanted to breath new life into old projects and approach tasks from a new angle.
Visiting this memory reminds of a tune by Paolo Nutini. I locate “New Shoes” on my IPod, turn it up loud and give it a good listen. As the tune comes to an end, I realize I am smiling. Thanks for the attitude adjustment, Paulo. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a little shoe shopping to do.