Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An early-December ramble

By some loose definition, it's a snowy day.

The air is full of fat, fluffy flakes. Across the fields, the woods are draped in a whitish haze. What little snow that does manage to stick collects along the roadside and dusts low spots.

Temps will top out in the mid-30s today, warm to near 50 tomorrow, and then fall back to freezing Thursday.

It's December in central Ohio.

Digging through my cold-weather kit yesterday morning, I found a pair of boots I've seldom worn. I paid dearly for them about five years ago, back when I had money to spend on such things.

Handmade by West Coast Shoe Company (or Wesco) in Oregon, they were intended to become a worthy addition to my motorcycle gear. Lacing up a pair of stiff 14-inch lineman's boots before a ride, however, usually lost out to slipping on my soft, well-loved westerns -- thus the disuse.

Seeing those nearly-new boots sitting in the back of my closet seemed a shame, so I lifted them out of their hiding place, brushing a layer of dust off the smooth black leather.

Just turning them over in my hands reminded me why I bought them. Like hefting that Blind Horse knife I picked up a few months ago, or catching a whiff of vigorously kneaded bread rising from stone-milled flour, there's unique pleasure in the craft of human hands.

I donned a pair of suitable socks and pulled the boots on -- no easy task, owing to feet that've grown larger over months of sprawling in sneakers. The first few hours in the Wescos were downright painful, but after two days they've become friendlier, and I plan to give them a few days' more attention. And yes, I have them on now.

I suppose I could've written today about something more significant -- Plaxico and his pistol, automakers submitting their plans to Congress, the stock market's gyrations, Sarah Palin's latest exercise in denial or President-elect Obama's cabinet choices. Perhaps I'm just weary, or maybe I don't have much to say about those things right now.

Or maybe it's simply that in this moment, nothing else is more significant to me than a gentle snowfall and a pair of good boots.