It's been too many months since I've "dropped some wisdom" (as an old college friend of mine used to say of my rants and raves)... but I've been busy doing the summertime thing. And I hope you have been too.
Funny thing is, for all of the Matt Bernson strappy grecian style sandals, Elizabeth and James light-as-air platform wedges, and Sienna Miller inspired camel suede booties I've drooled over (and worn, lucky me) this summer, it's the most frightful of footwear that truly brought me the greatest happiness this summer (See photo. And, please, allow me to explain before turning me into the fashion cops).
You see, sometimes I get so caught up in what LOOKS GOOD that I forget about what FEELS GOOD. And this summer, on a Cooper Family trip to Aspen, Colorado, I was reminded of what truly living life is all about. Okay, okay, so Aspen isn't exactly fashion-oblivious. We weren't exactly "roughing it" in the "wilderness." But that's what's so great about Aspen: it totally epitomizes the sentiment (and seemingly contradictory concepts) of this blog: SPIRIT and SOLE. True meaning and utter frivolity. It's a town built amidst some of the most lush, green, and gorgeous earth in the world. Seriously, you have to see it for yourself to believe it. The rivers and streams are awe-inspiring. The mountains and meadows are breath-taking.
And after a 25 mile bike ride alongside the Roaring Fork river (you've never seen beauty like this before!!) and a killer hike up The Ute trail (um, hello butt muscles!), what a pleasure it is to grab an iced soy latte at the upscale Peaches cafe and stroll through Ralph Lauren's Aspen outpost or pop in to take a look at Gucci's pre-fall arrivals or even grab a new basic white tee at James Perse. Ah, so much beauty to be witnessed, both Natural and Manufactured.
One might even surmise that Aspen is the perfect town for me (At least, my husband wishes it was. He spent the whole trip deliberating a move). I don't think I could ever LIVE in Aspen, but I can say that it's where I am reminded of HOW to live.
The lovely shoes pictured above are the waterproof boots I wore to go fly-fishing. Have you ever fly-fished? You're right, I should remember who my readers are. How about this: have you ever seen the movie A River Runs Through It? Yeah, now I got your attention. Well, those beautiful boys were fly-fishing, standing mid-burbling brook, casting a lightweight line upstream, patiently allowing the fly-indicator to float downstream, and then quietly re-casting back upstream. Some city-slickers might think this sounds like a very boring activity. Some might even say that there is not much worse than sporting a really awful looking pair of boots and being bored out of one's mind.
But allow me to assure you, this is not and was not, the case.
Fly fishing is one of the most magical, meditative, and soulful sports.
Standing knee-deep in waders (waterproof over-all thingies) and these chunky, lace-up, mud-brown boots, one realizes that even the unsightliest of SOLES have a purpose beyond mere image. In fact, more often than not, it is only when we dare to strip ourselves of the superficial, culturally imposed standards of beauty that we rediscover the true beauty of our SPIRIT.
There is function in form. The hideous boots that kept my feet dry and warm while fishing prove this. And there is value in emptiness. Those who have suffered most, lost all, and still manage to rise above their fears and failures prove this. It is not enough to just exist. We must LIVE.
When I got to Aspen, I was so caught up in my everyday stresses that I was missing precious moments in my life (even my 3 year old's tantrums will one day give way to a 16 year old flying out the door saying 'see ya later, mom!'). Stopping, slowing down, and surrounding myself in Nature seemed to jolt me out of what had clearly become a spiritual slump.
Who would have thought it would take a pair of really hideous SOLES to re-awaken my SOUL?! Course, now that I've taken a step closer to enlightenment, I'm going back to my more fanciful footwear... at least until ski season. Have you seen ski boots?!
P.S. No animals were harmed in the process of my spiritually-inclined sporting, as fly fishing is catch-and-release (Also, for the record, I caught 8 trout. No sole, in case you were wondering).