I put my shoes on, and walk — from the doorway to the desk. It’s five feet, if that, and really does not require shoes. But I’ve just come downstairs, wearing a black turtleneck & jeans, makeup and wet hair, wet with the hope that maybe it will be less wild and look less grey in these days of no haircuts. Sliding into shoes next is just what happens next.
As I sit down, the chair starts to roll on the smooth, 100+-year-old wood floors that slope — a metaphor for something, I’m sure. Meantime, in the kitchen, 15 feet away, kids quietly load the dishwasher from the overflowing sink, and then move to the dining room to huddle around a screen in quiet so as not to add background noise. I pull out the Chanel lipstick that now lives in my desk drawer, homage to Grandma Ruth’s taste and, exhortation and the amount of Zoom calling that happens from the desk.
In that study the still-not-yet-unpacked boxes from the winter house construction overflow, and lined Post-it notes crowd the unused desktop-monitor-functioning-as-bulletin-board, an attempt to give order in these days of no organization. A breakfast coffee cup sits off to the side — at 8pm, and pictures of my guardian cheerleaders, teenage Dad leading prayer on a bus and 90+-year-old Grandpa Morris eating oatmeal, look down on the cup and me from the window ledge.
Against a backdrop of new bookshelves that house old, dear friends, notes falling out of their pages with surprise messages and memories of adventure, I nervously turn on the camera as I prepare to teach. What if this time I am upside down again, or can’t connect at all?! Each time, my stomach knots as I enter the land of tech where I am no native. Talking into space with no faces to see is unsettling still, but I keep at it, my voice carrying text from my soul across miles into homes that my feet do not enter.
But, my shoes are still on — those elegant silk black ones that while impractical have attitude. Discovered in Philly in its tiny Design District in that peaceful, sunny hour between lunch with an old friend and class with scholars, those pointy flats bring delight still, a memory of precious free time in that city of my history. These days they reside before the bookcase, in a prominent parking place that, if it could speak, would say: these shoes matter.
At the burning bush, Moses is called to take off his shoes — it’s holy ground. My shoes are off most times these days. But for these moments of seeking order in the chaos, insight amidst the unknown, difference in the regular, I put my shoes on, and the ground becomes holy.