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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's All In the Shoes

At Summer’s start, we noticed a baked-on layer of pollen that blocked any light that managed to filter through the pine trees. It seemed to me that a good, solid rain would wash all that away. I kept hoping.

Well, we weren’t going to get a rain harder than Hurricane Irene now, were we? Branches fell and electricity died, but the layer of scum remained. I

t occurred to me that the dirt might be on the inside. How would it get on the inside? I don’t know. I got a mop and stood on the coffee table and swiped at the glass. No go. This meant someone had to climb up on the roof to swab down the skylights.

Someone meant me. My husband doesn’t like heights or ladders which are inextricably linked to heights. I, on the other hand, was a champion tree climber. I put on my cheap tennies and up I went. The tennies gave me no purchase whatsoever. I could barely scrabble two steps from valley where the house roof meets the porch roof let alone climb up to the peak.

Steve wet and wrung out the mop and handed it up. I lay flat on the incline, my toes pressing against the valley, my head poking over the peak and poked the mop over the other side. I was able to strong-arm a couple of smears, enough to prove the pollen and dirt were on the outside, but as to actually cleaning the glass, no way.

A couple of days later I got out my hiking boots. I bought these boots many years ago when we lived out west and actually hiking. Here in Virginia, all we’ve done are what I would rate as long walks, however, one does not throw out good hiking boots. Ever.

I dug them out of the close, admired their sturdy soles and wiggled my toes in their luxuriously large toe box. I aced them up and headed to the roof. What a difference! I tromped up the shingles and straddled the roof peak. Steve handed up the hose and an extension brush we’d forgotten we owned. I sprayed and brushed the skylights, no sweat.

It was glorious up there. I sat on top of the world with only green branches and clear sky above me. It was peaceful (okay, with occasional instructions being called up: “Get the lower corner again!” “There’s a spot in the middle.”). The job was finished in 15 minutes, but I sat up there a bit longer just enjoying it.

Looking back, I could say this exercise was a metaphor in life. Use the right tools. Act safely. Take time to enjoy both your sense of accomplishment and the view.

But while roof climbing, cocktail parties or ballet class -- everywhere really -- I don't so much think it's all about life, as I think a lot of success is in the shoes.
                                                                                                                  The roof is steep.


  1. How did I never follow this blog before? Fantastic! And, I'll read anything about shoes. Great column, Ann!

  2. Ann ...your sister says ...good shoes are essential in life...also essential is HIRING someone to climb on the roof. I only have one sister..I want to hold onto her!

  3. Hey, I never fell out of a tree. Not even once. Anyway, truly, I was never anywhere I could really fall. It was all inside curves.