It’s too early for spring fever, as it’s still more than a month before we’ll see the first crocuses (and more than two months before we’ll see the first wildflowers) here in southwest New Hampshire. But even the Main Street mannequins in downtown Keene sense an unspoken yearning for skin-baring dresses and sexy heels.
After months of stomping around in hiking boots, I’m yearning for sandal season and the decadent luxury of bare toes and naked ankles. Hiking boots are a necessary item of clothing here in New Hampshire, especially given how slippery the sidewalks are where they’re still covered with hard-packed snow and ice, and I can’t count the number of times my Yaktrax have saved me from slipping and falling. But I’m getting tired of booting up every time I suit up. Far from fantasizing about tripping the light fantastic, I find myself merely wanting to walk without boots and without slips, stumbles, and sprains. During these frozen, slippery days, simply showing a little ankle seems unspeakably risky, at least for those of us who walk to work, walk the dog, and keep on walk, walk, walking even when the way is wet or icy underfoot.
I’ve made peace with single-digit temperatures: I have a toasty coat and don’t mind bundling in both hat and scarf. Your fingers will warm up eventually, I’ve found, if you walk briskly, blood pumping its inevitable way into even your coldest extremities. Recent days have been bright, and the snow has only intensified the glare, so I haven’t felt starved for sunshine this winter. But my feet simply want to be released from the captivity of boots, and my ankles ache for the light of day. How long until I dare to go bare?