I left my shoes behind.

Part of the briefing for our work on several projects indicated the
possibility of leaving our work boots and clothes behind. After one
day of work and only having one set of work shoes and clothes I kept
my shoes and clothes for other days. To keep them separate from my
other clothes I placed them in plastic bags and fully thought that
I would return with them to New York this way. Even after our work
day in New Orleans which included dressing in a Tivek suit along
with masks, doubled gloves, and goggles I felt that I could still
return with my shoes. While packing to leave I looked at my shoes
with traces of mud and other things not too well known to me from
the various work sites between Biloxi and New Orleans. And perhaps
there were other things on those shoes that I could not see with
the naked eye. The briefing about mold and not getting into
contact with it troubled me so that I decided to leave the shoes

On the flight home I reflected on the decision to leave the shoes
behind and recognized that it was more than just about the dirt,
the mud, mold, or other toxic substance. I was leaving behind a
path that I could no longer walk once I left New Orleans. I had to
leave behind much of the dirt that stuck to my shoes and my path up
until that point. Included in that was dirt that I had picked up in
Biloxi and New Orleans. It was the dirt that came stuck to me as a
result of the hurricane; dirt stirred up by misfortune and
injustice, brought to the surface by inequality and unfairness,
dirt that was and is the stuff of poverty. I had to leave this
behind along with an indifference to these issues, as well as the
smugness of learning about these issues third hand. Having walked
through the dirt of Biloxi and New Orleans I needed new shoes. I
need new shoes in order to walk differently with respect to
injustice and poverty, new shoes to confront the issues of racism
and disenfranchisement not from a distance but up close. These new
shoes will define a different path for my life and work and as
important and urgent as these issues are, those shoes will surely
get dirt on them. I left my shoes behind in New Orleans because I
want to walk a different path, now I need to go buy new shoes but
not in a store. I will shop for these shoes in the experiences of
the past week, in the face of stories of the people that I met, in
the scenes of destruction and desperation imprinted in my life. I
will need to purchase these shoes from the solidarity with persons
who are committed to the struggle and invested in the creation of a
more just society. I wonder what my new shoe size will be?

Steed Davidson

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?