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It’s the Shoes, Part 2 December 14, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I am a woman both sentimental and practical. A sign of this is that I’ve had the same pair of felt-soled wading boots for more than twenty years.

Sometimes my husband will ask me, “Don’t you want a new pair of boots?” But there’s nothing wrong with my boots. They may look faded and worn, but they work, and the felt soles are still in good shape. Plus, I like them. They’re old friends.

Old friends that I may never wear again. Come April, it will be illegal to wear felt-soled boots in the waters of Vermont.

I get this. Truly, I do. Felt provides invasives—particularly Didymosphenia geminata—with an excellent opportunity to attach themselves to something and migrate to new waters. Thing is, these past couple of decades, I’ve really enjoyed spending more time on my feet and less time on my butt. I will deeply mourn the death of felt and the loss of my stability.

I will buy new boots. I will pray that they will be grippy sans felt, but I am under no illusions.

Oddly, the last trip my boots made into Vermont waters was not a fly-fishing excursion but a stream hike with some gal pals. Everyone else was wearing river shoes or sandals, but I, knowing the river bottom, and wanting to be with my boots one more time, was the gal who was either (a) making a fashion statement or (b) clearly not making one.

Afterward, we got out of the river and sloshed along the road, stopping briefly at the cemetery to visit a friend’s grave. In Sioux’s driveway, I removed my felt-soled boots, maybe for the last time. They dried in my mudroom. They are on their long dry home. RIP.


1. Lali - December 15, 2010

That first line sounds like MFK Fisher!

2. helen - December 15, 2010

I just looked up Didymosphenia geminata and see that it is commonly known as didymo or rock snot. I can see why you wouldn’t want to spread that.

Time to look up MFK Fisher.

3. indigo bunting - December 15, 2010

I’ll bet MFK Fisher never said rock snot.

4. LisaS - December 15, 2010

i fall in love with shoes too. to the point that i have to tell the Husband to throw them away when i’m not looking when they have holes in the soles and the leather has pulled away from every seam. but felt soles … might they still be good for snow?

5. Mali - December 15, 2010

Yes, a brilliant first sentence, and a lovely tribute to your boots. I have mourned the loss of shoes. I well remember the pair I had to leave in the rubbish tin (I believe you northerners would say “trash can”) in a hotel in Philadelphia. They were stylish AND comfortable, and I’ve never found a pair so good.

A fly-fisher and a bird-woman(!). As I’ve said before, my dad would have liked you.

6. Bridgett - December 15, 2010

Didymosphenia geminata admittedly sounds like a bad idea…

7. Dona - December 19, 2010

I have a pair of boots sitting in an Easter basket in the knee-wall of my attic. I refuse to get rid of them, bad soles and all.

Sorry about your felt-soled boots, IB.

8. indigo bunting - December 21, 2010

Lisa: As I am a wimp and don’t really fish in winter, I had to check on the snow thing. My boots aren’t waterproof (I wear neoprene-footed waders under them for that), so they wouldn’t work in that respect, but I am also told that snow sticks mightily to felt.

Mali: The idea of your dad liking me makes me happy!

9. Damyanti - January 5, 2011

Only you can write such a heaart-felt post about your boots.

It is so nice to come back here again.

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