There is very little in this world more important to a sailor than his old sea boots. Warm and comforting, always there when you need them and ready to go at a moments notice. Once shiny and new these old boots wear with you, they show their age as well as yours. You can tell a lot about a man by his boots.
They will happily splash through the mud and follow you everywhere you go, down lonely stretches of deserted beaches that go on forever. Through canyons and over mountain tops and into deep snow covered valleys without complaint. A quick blast with the hose and they are clean enough to come back into the boat and settle in the corner untill the next adventure.
Eventually these boots will become a part of you, but like you they won’t last forever. I have hiked a thousand miles with my trusty boots, now old worn and battered I know the end is near. You do everything you can to patch them up and keep them going but eventually the time will come when putting patches over patches doesn’t help anymore. You remember better days and all the adventures you had together. Laying in a crumpled heap where they once stood proudly your boots are tired, they try but they are tired. You want to let them sleep but you know when they eventually do a part of your soul will die. Deep down all you really want is one more hike, one more adventure one more…
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!” It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” -Oriah Mountain Dreamer