A pair of brown hiking boots sitting in green grass

This summer, I finally had to give you up.

I embarked on my trip to Peru with a new version of you,
Just as comfortable and snug, but water tight.

It felt odd not to have you along,
My hiking boots who have been with me on every trip since 2004,
When I bought you for a shooting class in Texas.

I wore you whenever I really had to walk,

Be it through a downpour on the way to the office in Chicago,
Or along the undulating walkway of the Great Wall of China.

Hiking books viewed from above on ornate floor

But last winter, after fifteen years,

I had to admit it was time to replace you.

In rainy Jerusalem, you couldn’t keep my toes from getting damp.

Until then, you had been my faithful friends,
The footwear I could always rely on.
You never gave me blisters, no matter the conditions.

In dusty deserts, on mountain hikes, on muddy paths,
Through the thicket of weeds around my great-great-grandparents mill in the Czech countryside,
Or on a quiet stroll through the woods on our Indiana property.

You were the best shoes for the uneven pavement of Paris.

In the summer heat of the most fashionable city in the world,
I wore you with my favorite summer dress, even though grunge is not my style.

Hiking boots in a pile of leaves in autumn

On some trips, such as to the ancient cities of Jerash and Petra in Jordan,
I was so enamored with the sights, I forgot to look down
And document that you were there, too.

Thank you, dear scruffy friends,

You will forever have a place of honor in my vestibule,
Even if I can’t take you out into the world anymore.