February 15, 2010

The path I'm on

the path I'm on

When the blocks of sunshine appeared on my living room floor, I made a fast decision to leave the work I was doing and go for a walk in my woods. I’d just been telling my friends that I need to get outside more during February, to let the sun and fresh air chase away February demons. I grabbed a pair of tall boots and went out the back door.

I soon realized that I’d grabbed the wrong pair of boots. They were way too big. But I figured they’d be good enough. I kept on going, trudging happily through the snow.

And then it started. With each step I took, I could feel my socks creeping down. First the left, then the right. I’d walk until the socks were bunched up under my heels and when the lump got so annoying that I felt like screaming, I’d stop and balance on one foot to pull each sock up.

I didn’t think any profound thoughts or have any deep revelations or have any sort of intense communion with nature. Mostly, I stomped through the woods and thought about my socks. Maybe if I walked differently, I could get them to stop creeping down. Maybe if I just pulled them tight enough and got the heels aligned exactly right. Maybe if I tucked my jeans into the top of the socks to hold them.

I can remember as a little kid, wearing boots that belonged to an older sister, and coming inside to find my white cotton socks crumpled at the bottom of the boots. In those days, I accepted sock creep: I didn’t fight it.

I walked through the pine woods to the dancing tree, crossing over the tracks of rabbits and white-tailed deer, filled with envy at these other creatures who didn’t have to wear socks. I tried zigzagging to see that might solve the sock problem. I kept thinking about the physics of sock creep. It must have been the friction of the sides of the boots rubbing against the socks that pulled them down. These socks had stayed up fine in the house when I didn’t have boots on.

It wasn’t until I had trudged back through the yard, stopping twice to pull up my socks in sight of the back door, that I realized what a satisfying walk it had been. I hadn’t had time to think about any February scars or obsess over any of the new things that were bothering me. The sock creep had crowded all other thoughts out of my mind. I’d achieved what I can rarely achieve during mediation: I thought about nothing. As I stepped onto my back step, my mind was as blank as a field of new snow.

When I stepped back into my warm house, I kicked the boots off. They hit the kitchen wall and fell to the floor with a satisfying thump.

15 comments:

Nels said...

One of the first poems I ever wrote was about a pair of red socks. I sent it to The Atlantic Monthly, but they didn't publish it.

liz said...

Sock creep!

Digger said...

I know it seems terribly obvious in retrospect, but OF COURSE I can go for a walk in the woods in the winter! Duh! I was just recently missing the woods, "but there's snow." I need to get my Canadian on and get out there! Thanks for the kick in the pants :)

heidi said...

I like the photo.

Ianqui said...

I totally relate to this. I *hate* sock creep.

landismom said...

When I was little, my mom used to make me wear plastic bags over my socks, under my boots--so I could take them off and put them on easily at school. I always got plastic bag creep. I just never knew what to call it until now.

jo(e) said...

I used to do that in high school -- wear plastic bread wrappers over my socks, but under my sneakers. I don't recommend it ....

lizardek said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAA!!! Sock creep! HAHAHAHAA!!! I am so happy now.

Songbird said...

I love the thump at the end of this piece.
This is one of those times I envy you having work that is more compatible with writing. Maybe at my next job.

Sandy said...

I hate sock creep with all my might.

Yankee, Transferred said...

I have problems with my achilles tendons and have to wear gel heel thingies in my shoes to raise my tendons above the shoe-backs. I have freakin' sock creep about 90% of the time as a result. It's almost as bad as the tendonitis itself!
Love the ending. Thump, indeed!

Coasting Anon said...

Aaaaaaaaah!! I HATE sock creep. Almost as much as I hate crotch drop in nylons.

jo(e) said...

Coasting Anon: I'm laughing at your comment. When I was a teenager, I worked at a restaurant that required all the women to wear nylons with their uniforms. We were always going in the back to yank them up ....

Barbara said...

Hurray for sock creep in the end then!

Sarah Sometimes said...

This is too funny! And I love the picture...