Archive for January 20, 2010

Dangling shoes

From the bedroom window I can see the lighthouse, but also a tree with a pair of shoes dangling on their strings on one of the branches. They have been there for years now. In summer, they are a bit out of vision, but when all the leaves have fallen, they appear again.

If I look outside, thinking about nothing much but sentences to write, questions arise. How long can a pair of shoes hang on a treebranche? Without rotting? And the shoestrings, how long can they survive all sorts of weather before they land on someones head? Why do they hang there anyway? Who did it?

I think perhaps it happened after the local marathon here, that for a reason I don’t quite grasp, always takes place in November, when the weather is worst. Was someone happy he made it? Or were those shoes part of the container full of  sportingshoes made in Asia that stranded here some years ago and someone just had too many of them, combing the beach? The beach was full of shoes then. It was on national tv for days.  Even now you can find them on sale here and there on the island.

During the autumn holidays, from my bedroomwindow I overheard a man, a pensioner with not much to do I suppose, and two German tourists, a man and a woman with a small rucksack. They looked as if the had the intention  to go and walk quite a bit.

The stopped under the tree.

“Look now!” the woman said surprised. They stared above them with a sort of eagerness only tourists have. They were willing to take in everything on their walk, not just the fresh air, but all of the environment. Even a pair of unimportant shoes.

“We do that with old shoes, it is for good luck,” the pensioner said in his best German, trying to make them believe it was a sort of local tradtion.

They did not believe him I think.  After all, shoes dangling on tree branches, that is not so unique, you can see that everywhere in the world I suppose.

They smiled politely, or scared because he, coming out of the blue, started to talk to them just like that, and walked away rapidly. The couple also got into an ugly and loud argument later on in the street. I could not overhear what is was about, although my window was open by then. But it was bad!

I closed the window and started thinking. Perhaps the pensioner was right somehow. Perhaps someone had really thrown these shoes in the tree for good luck.  People do the funniest things that way. Perhaps it had helped, even.

A day later I saw the tourists again, they were strolling in one of our 2 streets with shops, walking hand in hand. The argument was over, I suppose. And the man had purchased a pair of obvious “Beach shoes” somewhere, that was dangling on his rucksack.

Now had he thrown some old ones in a tree for good luck? I wondered.

He looked quite happy. And so did his female companion. Did one thing have to do with the other?

Those shoes will keep dangling for who knows how long. I am used to them. They are a part of the tree. As if they have always been there. For good luck.


I wrote this posting last year. This winter, one of the shoes fell down. So now the other is hanging there, all alone…

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