I saw snow today. Admittedly there were only sporadic flakes. And they were traveling past my window horizontally at that. No hope of sticking. And certainly no reason for me to be on the lookout for the salt trucks. But it was snow all the same. And that means the temperature here was near freezing. Even where I live within bike riding distance of the shores of Lake Michigan. Hardly the sort of weather to inspire sandal wearing. Truly bare toes are one of the last things you want in this part of the world once you reach the final page of the calendar. But they're certainly not one of the last things on our minds. That's what make it so special to be human. We can let out imaginations carry us beyond the here and now and give us reason to hope for brighter, warmer days. (How synchronisitc! As I tap out these words, my favorite internet station, Radio Paradise, is treating us to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole strumming his ukelele and singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"!) Is it any surprise that once we start bundling up and dressing in layers, the catalogs start arriving with glimpses of next year's resort collections? Count on it. Seasons do change. Just as surely as day follows night, spring and summer follow winter. And those wooly socks that feel so comfy in a pair of closed back wood clogs will suddenly lose their appeal. What will replace them on our feet? All those fun to wear sandals we've daydreamed about through the dark and chilly days surrounding the winter solstice. In all honesty, it's not that previously mentioned Arlen/Yarburg musical classic from The Wizard of Oz that comes to mind for me. When confronted with the realities of life, I find the voice of John Mayer breathing in my ear.
You can't build a house of leaves
And live like it's an evergreen.
It's just a season thing.
It's just this thing the seasons do.
And that's the way this wheel keeps working now.
Life is change. No denying it. And in the face of that fact I'm convinced we discover one of our strengths as living, breathing, thinking creatures on planet Earth. We can use our imaginations to manage the changes life puts us through. Because just as surely as the warmth of the sun will someday banish the cold and snowy months, every valley will eventually crest upwards to become a peak. No doubt that's why Mayer tacked on "The Wheel"'s cautionary coda:
You can't love too much one part of it.
Why? Because it's gonna change someday. So don't get too comfortable in that tank top and shorts. But don't get bummed out by that down parka you're having to wear either.
Which brings me to today's collection of wooden sandals. The chill of winter is settling in. Just this morning I moved the thermostat up a notch. What better time to fantasize about the warmer weather to come with a few pictures from my album of summer footwear? These images, by the way, have been culled over the years from that online site synonymous with fantasies on so many levels, Victoria's Secret. It's Saturday. Let your mind wander.
Added bonus for making it this far down the page: two, count 'em, two new things I learned today. First, off that classic song from The Wizard of Oz is actually named "Over the Rainbow". But clearly that doesn't matter at this point since the title most of us know it by is pretty much ingrained in our culture. Second, that memorable performance of the tune by Judy Garland was actually deleted from the movie at first because MGM chief executive Louis B. Mayer thought it "slowed down the picture". Nor did he like the fact that "our star sings it in a barnyard". Fortunately those who run a company don't always get to run the company.