Monday, 5 August 2013

Always wear the shoes you are going to walk home in!

The Airbus bounced gently in the cool pre-dawn air, as it banked and descended lazily into Charles de Gaulle (Paris). I slipped on my boots, they felt somewhat snugger than normal on my slightly altitude swollen feet, tying my shoe laces up and put my seat back in the upright position. I made myself comfortable for the early morning landing, only five and a half hrs from Chad, yet I seemed to be landing in a different world. My flying boots looked smart, an almost new sparkle to them, as yesterday I had sat in the shower and given them a good scrub removing the ingrained dullness from weeks of desert dust. I'm fond of my boots, they feel good and provide me with a firm, secure footing be it  on scree slopes, rudder pedals, rocks or ladders. I guess I've had half a dozen pairs of Merrell's through the years, though this set of vibram soled ankle boots must be the most expensive yet! But when the time comes for replacement, the old ones get passed on and I try and get the best I can afford, as a phrase given to me early in my bush pilot career always echoes in my mind when I am tempted to save a few £/$  'Always wear the shoes that you are prepared to walk home in.' Something I might add I have oft quoted to my flipflop or fashion conscious children though it was only heard with only 'moderate success'! 

'Be prepared' is more than just a good motto if you are a Scout or Guide, it is sound life advice. These boots really do keep one out of trouble, they really do keep one in readiness when I fly into some pretty remote and wild places. It reminded me of a book written by a chap by the name of Paul, he wrote about always being prepared as well, 'and your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.' Ephesians 6:15.

Flip flops or last years cast offs are just not good enough to get you out of the desert, jungle or mountains. You need the right shoes for the right job but even good shoes can let you down if...

It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it is the grain of sand in your shoe.
What a great quote, and as I am now into the final year of an MA, it goes against the grain, pardon the pun, not to be able to attribute a quote to an author - it thought to be from a trade journal for the Insurance Industry in 1916*. I guess it is alluding to the fact that it is sometimes the small things that can knock you off track/wear you out/disable you, often more so than the big and often obvious ones. That Paul bod has something to say about this as well 'You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth.' Galatians 5:7 
Limping along is not a good idea, sometimes you need to stop, empty your shoes and get back into the race. Sadly a number of friends over the years have thought they could get by with spiritual flip flops or whilst well equipped forgot to sit down, get refreshed and empty the sand out of their shoes.

So always wear the shoes you are going to walk home in!

Thinking about shoes I did find this Charlie Brown type amusing quote!
“Never dance in a puddle when there's a hole in your shoe (it's always best to take your shoes off first)." - John D. Rhode


1 comment:

  1. Bryan, Thank you for yet another great blog and some fantastic advice.
    I agree - a good set of boots is a life saver; I will not forget a set of US Jungle boots which had a thin strip of metal in the sole, (this was there to protect soldiers from Punji sticks; a hazard consisting of sharpened bamboo often smeared in excreta an concealed in pits which US soldiers faced in the jungles of Vietnam.) My boots deflected a six inch long nail away from my foot, but left me pinned for a few awkward seconds to a floorboard which had been spiked to slow an assault on a building. Unfortunately the boots died an untimely death when they became entangled in some razor wire a couple of months later.
    As for footwear advice, my favourite piece is; ‘Never judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.’