by Steve Sakiyama –
The mysteries of the pyramids and Stonehenge pale in comparison to the simple, everyday ones like the lost sock in the wash and my favourite: the abandoned shoe on the road.
While merging onto the Pat Bay Highway one day, I noticed a single white running shoe on the shoulder. It looked pretty new. How did it get there? Why just one? Comedian Kevin Meany wondered if the driver decided: “I’m going to take this shoe and throw that baby right out the window.”
Most of the footwear I’ve seen on roads includes running shoes, but there are boots and loafers too. No heels so far, no matching pairs and only one sandal, spotted on a quiet street in Singapore. My most unusual discovery occurred some years ago while walking along a local rural road. A large rubber boot was sitting beside a nice running shoe, as if brought together by an innate force in all footwear with soles (or souls) to be in pairs. It’s the same mysterious force that guides migratory birds thousands of kilometres to find their way to an obscure nesting ground in the Aleutians.
The most intriguing case was in 2009 when NBC reported that thousands of shoes inexplicably appeared along a Miami freeway one morning. Sandals, boots, slippers, roller skates … nobody knows where they came from. To me this proves that: a) extraterrestrial life exists; and b) whatever they look like, they have feet. As a footnote, closer to home but not so mysterious is the North Vancouver Island shoe tree along Holberg Road. There is an old cedar snag adorned with hundreds of worn-out shoes and hiking boots, placed there by those who have completed the Cape Scott Trail.
Speaking of footwear, November means a switch to something waterproof as we transition to our cool and wet winter. In fact, November is right up there with December and January for the months with the most precipitation in these parts. At this time of year very cold and dry air from the frigid Arctic begins to flow south, some of it ending up over the North Pacific Ocean. This frigid, dry air is moisturized and warmed by the these vast ocean waters so that it becomes moist and cool. Meteorologists call this “Maritime Polar Air.” It pushes on to the coast and defines our typical cool, wet weather that we begin to experience this month and throughout the winter season.
Well, how cool and wet will November be? The outlook leans toward a warmer-than-normal month, but it’s undecided about what’s happening with precipitation.
Whatever the weather, if you’re feeling like an abandoned shoe along the side of life’s road, do a flip-flop and connect with your friends, family or even the store clerk. A simple “hello” will do. There is an innate force within that draws us to be with others, for good company brings warmth to a cold life and moisturizes our dry souls. Remember, November is an in-between month where the gratitude from Thanksgiving in October still lingers and the hope of Christmas in December begins to grow. When gratitude mixed with hope is shared with others, there’s no mystery. You’re in a good place, no matter where you are on the road of life.