Shoe Trees and Muddy Gravel

Jan 12, 2009 at 5:22 PM
The shoe tree here on the ranch is dead. It fell over.

It has been a local landmark for AGES. Everyone who came here or visited has left a pair of shoes hanging on this large dead tree overhanging a cliffside above a beautiful meadow, right above the flood plain, flat flat land with a winding river in the center.

Last week we had a winter storm. Here is the coast that means HEAVY winds. Remember the one? It knocked out my power?

Anyway, the next day, I felt a visceral shock when I was driving along and saw the shoe tree tipped over. What a loss.

It finished its fall and is now somewhere down the side of the slope it previously overhung.


I love my road here. It is everchanging, constantly shifting, clay and mud covered gravel. Every year, the road gets lower in some spots, muddied in others, new potholes, newly flattened and graded sections, gets slippery new gravel somewhere, or it slips slightly further down the hill somewhere else.

You can never take that kind of road for granted.

It makes you vigilant, as it winds and dips, climbs and changes.

Every winter, there are new branches and trees and mudslides in the road.

Every summer, the log trucks pound and blast their way along the road, making even a drive to town a potentially lethal affair.

Every Spring and Fall, new gravel is laid down somewhere, and acts like marbles on a dance floor for a while, until we grind it down by driving over it. And lose a lot of rubber off our tires simultaneously.

And for whatever odd reason, I love it more than I could ever love any other road. I enjoy having a challenging, difficult trip here. It's what keeps the rest of the world OUT of my beautiful woodland haven. And it's part of why the others who live here, Adam, JD, Dad, Marie, Tammy, Frank and Janey so extra extra special to me. They also understand that it is BECAUSE life is hard here that we love it so much.

And because of the amazing views. No hilltop mansion in any city has the view that my converted barn / aerie has. I LOVE my view. Just as I loved my view from down in the valley last year for different reasons.

I do hate being so distant, so far from anything worthwhile. For instance, the nearest Trader Joe's - my favorite store ever - is 5 hours away. If it wasn't for e-commerce, I'd seriously not be able to live here. I wish Trader Joe's had an online store. I don't see why they don't. The concept of being a Trader means you work with outlying areas. And they dont' HAVE stores in outlying areas. I do understand that the "Trader" part is mostly gimmick, but I still wish they thought of us remote, distant lovers of all things Joe.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind today.

Remind me to post about sleepless nights, thrifting in Portland, the fact that I'm not any more mature than my 20 year old sister. And how much I HATE losing at Monopoly.


  1. desi Says:

    My contribution to the new-defunct shoe tree was my hot pink pumps that were my standard office attire for my last corporate job. They had signified the entire corporate bullshit THING, the whole 2.5% raise per year THING, the whole "there are no openings in management, despite your splendid qualifications" THING, regardless of your worth, regardless of whether you pull your own weight and ten others.

    Nailing those suckers to the tree was a cathartic, and I decided I would NEVER do the corporate thing again right then and there. And I haven't since. So far so good. I think.

  2. Kat Says:

    Sorry about your magnificent tree.

    I'm reminding you now to post about all those things because I want to know.

    I've heard so many people bitch about their lack of Trader's, I've thought of starting Trader Kat's - I'll shop and send you whatever you want from TJ's and charge a mark-up or a flat fee or something. You could create the website. We could be rich. Rich. RICH!

  3. Cat Says:

    Maybe the tree died from the foot smell.

  4. Sorry about the shoe tree. Please tell me the sock bush is still alive and doing well!

  5. C.S. Perry Says:

    All of life is a road that has to be managed in all weathers.
    And whether we encounter any Shoe Trees along that path is a strange and mysterious happenstance that not tongue can tell.

  6. desi Says:

    I was lookingin the wrong place... The shoe tree is still there, tipped over but not down the hill. No one has the heart to completely knock it down the hill, I guess. Most of the time, we take these trees and push them out of the way so we're not harmed. I guess we're all kind of OK with the idea of the SHOE tree falling over on one of us.

  7. Shelley Says:

    Sorry to hear about the shoe tree. The nearest Trader Joes is only 6 hours flight from here.... it's my favorite store too.... on a good note my neighbour fixed my road (she paid $1500 and wants me to contribute) but at least I wont break an axel getting home.
    Love you