“Take a hike,” they said, snidely. But you and I knew the truth: taking a hike was exactly what we always wanted to do.
To my dearest companions, my old hiking boots, I now dedicate this brief ode to you and our shared adventures over the years.
My wife tells me it’s time to pack you up, send you on to a better home, and find a new, stiff pair to replace you. After weeks and months of back-and-forth, I am sorry to say that I have relented. Don’t worry, old pals; I’m sure you’ll wind up in whatever equivalent of heaven there is for faithful hiking boots.
For now, I would like to sing my praises for your laces. Your sturdy padding has held me together on many a long and rigorous hike. Your form-fitting insoles have cushioned my every trek, and each groove of your sole has grasped onto craggy rocks and trod through the thickest of mud without hesitation.
Thank you, old hiking boots, for never crying out in pain when I forced you to explore just two more miles during that already pretty extensive hike through the backwoods. It was always you that encouraged me to keep on keeping on, even when the going got rough. You were forever a sense of comfort in a vastly uncomfortable and unforgiving world.
You have never shied from the depths of the wilderness, and for that bravery, I am eternally grateful. Even in the moments when I was doubting myself, you were there to let me know I wasn’t alone in the world. My bare feet never had to know the harshness of the uneven terrain; your thick, rubber soles thanklessly did that mitigating job for me. That job is thankless no more. I need you to know, hiking boots, how ardently I admire you—to paraphrase the words of Mr. Darcy. You are my Elizabeth. Okay, maybe I won’t take my admiration that far, but suffice it to say that I am forever indebted to your service.
You’ve been the best of adventure companions, and through all of our journeys, our explorations, and our feats, I am glad to have had you all along the way. You will be missed, old hiking boots, but you will never be forgotten.