Red sneakers. I had never worn red sneakers until that fateful day. Red was daring, dangerous, called attention to itself. I never wore red sneakers. I was much more comfortable with white ones, or even black ones. Those allowed me to slide unobtrusively across the road with no one noticing.

But on this day, I sat in the shoe store and saw them calling out to me; they blinked in and out of my vision like a neon light. I couldn’t help myself. And so I slipped them on, bright blood-red ones with black laces, tied gracefully into a big bow. I stood up then, and took one step, then another. They were so comfortable, so very pretty. I wiggled in them, then jiggled in them, and then me and my red sneakers headed on out the door.

Somehow the world itself seemed like a brighter place with these ‘Reds.’ The sky was bluer, the trees greener, the people friendlier. I noticed folks smiled, men winked, children waived their arms. Even dogs wagged their tales as I paraded by. My confidence increased with every step, and the strides got longer, with a little more bounce. My hips started to sway just a wee bit more as I saw my shadow step out and dance in front of me. Then, the light changed color and we stopped at the corner. My toes were eager to move on, tapping to a rhythm all their own. And still the light remained red. Then into the frame stepped a pair of neon green sneakers. They were high tops, laced with orange, screaming out, ‘Hey there baby, how’s it hanging.’ And as I watched in horror, they tip tapped ever closer to my Reds.

We were confused, this had never happened before. The Reds stopped their tapping and waited, would the Greens come closer? But the Greens paused as well, and waited. The light changed. Now what?

We stepped out, hesitantly at first, but then with more confidence, one long stride lengthening after another. To the right of us, the Greens came up alongside, picking up our rhythm, matching it stride for stride. We got a little bolder, mixing it up: a step to the left, a step to the right. And the Greens kept right up like a partner in a tango. And then they changed it up, inviting us to follow, if we dared. Two steps back, a hop to the right, they challenged. We paused, hesitated, then picked up the steps, dancing our way down the street, hip-hopping, sling- slanging, on down the road.

Until we came to a house where the Greens slowed down and stopped. We slowed down as well, confused, questioning. Then the Greens took one step up the stairs. “What are you doing” we called out. The Greens took another step up. “Where are you going” we cried. Each Green step up was slow, waiting for us to follow. “Don’t leave us” we whimpered. The Greens stopped and waited. My Reds stepped back away from the house, afraid. We started to turn away, “So much for that,” we thought. “Why had we bothered?” All of a sudden, the Greens raced back down the steps.

Into the frame reached a hand: a strong hand with sinews that ran down to long fingers. They were warm fingers that gently reached across the divide and touched my arm. And then a voice filtered in thru the buzzing in my head, “Don’t go.” The deep velvet voice whispered again, “Don’t leave yet.”

We froze then, all senses on high alert. What had we done? Were we crazy giving up our white tennis shoes for this terrifying episode, run, run, run!!!

Through the panic the voice whispered one more time “Don’t be afraid. I think our sneakers like each other.” Heart pounding, I waited for what seemed like a million years. But then, before I could stop them, my bold little sneakers tipped, then tapped their toes and very bravely, and quite saucily, I might add, took one step, and then another up the steps to the house.

The last time anyone caught sight of them, two pairs of very happy sneakers were dancing down the street with a teeny, tiny pair of turquoise sneakers in tow.

Poetic Plantings
Landscape Design