Of all of nature’s gifts, snow is the one I want to take back to the store and exchange for something else. Winter is pretty, but very uncomfortable, and I much prefer sundresses and sandals to being bundled up in long johns and scarves and ten pairs of wool socks. So when the snow finally fell this year I was, as usual, in the depths of despair. After the requisite amount of pouting, I did the thing I always do when the snow falls for the first time: I pulled out my Really Giant Boots.
My Really Giant Boots are not what I would call the height of fashion. I got them for a highschool trip, where we did wilderness-y things like snowshoeing and hiking. They kept my feet warm and dry, and their gargantuan size, thick, heavy soles and general construction-worker aesthetic made me feel secretly tough — like I could kick down a door or fight off a bad guy should the need ever arise. After that weekend, I wore them every single day.
I had a teacher who used to shake his head, bewildered, every time my boots and I clomped into the classroom. “Hailey,” he would say, “those boots are just so curious.“ He explained that they reminded him of a girl he knew in university who was fearless and outspoken, and while I am none of these things – I’ve always been a shy and quiet kid – wearing the boots make me feel like maybe I could be. I’ve worn them every winter since. The last time I wore them home, my mom took a look at them and said, “I’m glad you still wear those. They look like old friends.”