Signs and Wonders
Or: Who Says There’re No Such Things as Miracles?
In The summer of 2009 I was lucky enough to find myself floating the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon with my wife and a few of our friends. Let me put the bottom of the Grand Canyon into one word for those of you unfortunates that haven’t made it down there yet: Awesome. And not the cliché, slang awesome, but the truly awesome, the I-can’t-believe-that-things-this-beautiful-exist kind of awesome. Another word that might be used to describe the bottom of that mightiest of canyons: Brutal. Yet again, brutal in the truest sense of the word. And when I say brutal, I mean brutal on everything: clothes, skin, hair, mind, spirits, friendships, footwear, everything. We were a small party all crammed onto three boats with no room to spare. With this in mind, I decided to take only one pair of footwear. Quite a few of us river folk believe in and trust one certain brand of sandaled footwear. I won’t mention this brand’s name because I’m a nice guy, but I will say this: they make sandals with one strap that goes in and out of the sole, which itself is held together with what one can only assume is crafts glue, and they share the name of a certain National Historic Park in beautiful New Mexico. Figured it out? Great, let’s move on.
All may faith lay in these most trusted of sandals, which proved to be misguided, as the sandals, for lack of a better vocabulary, ate it. Within the first week on the river the sandals had become an amalgamation of tape, sand, unspeakable curses, and the things that hopelessness is made of. In short, it was a tragedy. All that beautiful hiking, exploring, possibility, adventure and bliss was disintegrating before my eyes.
“Why me?” I asked, arms raised to the heavens, “What have I done to deserve this unspeakable injustice?”
I listened but heard no answer….until:
Landing on a beach several days after I had resigned my sandals to the sad fate of absolute worthlessness, I was pardoned from the tortuous foot hell I had found myself immersed in by a savior named KEEN. If you think I’m embellishing a bit too much just imagine your foot strapped into a rusty cheese grater and we might be back on the same page. Walking barefoot down the beach, giving my feet a much-needed break, I stumbled, literally, over the toe of a sandal sticking out of the sand. I dug the sandal up and found a solo near-to-new KEEN Newport H2. At this exact moment one of our party decided to take a bath in the river and stepped on the H2’s mate. A grabbed the sandals and whispered a soft prayer that went like this: “Please be nine and a halves, please be nine and a halves, please be nine and a halves….”.
I slid the sandals on and like some strange and bearded version Cinderella it was a perfect fit. I’ve worn the sandals on every river trip since because if that isn’t a sign, then what is?