The packages came yesterday. New shoes. New Reebok shoes. Life is good again; working out is good again. The first #FamFit workout of the new shoe era was a stair workout. I bounded up the stadium stairs with youthful exuberance. It felt like a million dollars.
Well, it felt like a million dollars until my body remembered it is almost fifty years old. It felt like a million dollars until it remembered it has been a long winter, followed by a bad weather spring, and my body is not in any kind of shape yet.
Not the shoes fault for they performed spectacularly.
New shoes always remind me of Bradbury’s ‘The Sound of Summer Running”. I think the first time I ever read this story was in DANDELION WINE. In only a way that Ray Bradbury could do, he crafted the feeling of new shoes to perfection. Re-reading it again makes me want to put on the new pair of sneakers and feel the bounce of their soles between my feet and the ground as I type this.
Words are wonderful things. Ray Bradbury’s words are beautiful, magnificent, and awesome wonderful things. If you’ve never read this story, I highly recommend it. Below is an excerpt.
If you’ve never read Bradbury, I feel sorry for you. You are missing out.
-excerpt from “The Sound of Summer Running” by Ray Bradbury
His father didn’t even turn. “Suppose you tell me why you need a new pair of
sneakers. Can you do that?”
“Well . . .”
It was because they felt the way it feels every summer when you take off your
shoes for the first time and run in the grass. They felt like it feels sticking your feet out of the hot covers in wintertime to let the cold wind from the open window blow on them suddenly and you let them stay out a long time until you pull them back in under the covers again to feel them, like packed snow. The tennis shoes felt like it always feels the first time every year wading in the slow waters of the creek and seeing your feet below, half an inch further downstream, with refraction than the real part of you above water.
“Dad,” said Douglas, “it’s hard to explain.”
Somehow the people who made tennis shoes knew what boys needed and wanted. They put marshmallows and coiled springs in the soles and they wove the rest out of grasses bleached and fired in the wilderness. Somewhere deep in the soft loam of the shoes the thin hard sinews of the buck deer were hidden. The people that made the shoes must have watched a lot of winds blow the trees and a lot of rivers going down to the lakes. Whatever it was, it was in the shoes, and it was summer.
Douglas tried to get all this in words.
“Yes,” said Father, “but what’s wrong with last year’s sneakers? Why can’t you
dig them out of the closet?”
Well, he felt sorry for boys who lived in California where they wore tennis shoes all year and never knew what it was to get winter off your feet, peel off the iron leather shoes all full of snow and rain and run barefoot for a day and then lace on the first new tennis shoes of the season, which was better than barefoot. The magic was always in the new pair of shoes. The magic might die by the first of September, but now in late June there was still plenty of magic, and shoes like these could jump you over trees and rivers and houses. And if you wanted, they could jump you over fences and sidewalks and dogs.
“Don’t you see?” said Douglas. “I just can’t use last year’s pair.”
For last year’s pair were dead inside. They had been fine when he started them
out, last year. But by the end of summer, every year, you always found out, you always knew, you couldn’t really jump over rivers and trees and houses in them, and they were dead. But this was a new year, and he felt that this time, with this new pair of shoes, he could do anything, anything at all.