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Gold Key Poetry -- “Ode to My Hiking Boots”

By Madison McDougall ’21
Ode to My Hiking Boots

Oh, worn pair of hiking boots,
resting along an open doorway.
You wait patiently
to begin

the next escapade.

Your beautiful,
tired chestnut leather
gallantly resisted the
tough and the rough,
the rust and the dust,
and little smooth grooves
of planet Earth below.

You have touched
dancing waters and grazed
seas of lush green grass.
You have trekked through
muggy swamps,
breaking down
precious branches,
ripping up
the dusty soil
on the beaten path.
And you have endured
treacherous thistles
to guide and protect me.

Oh, benevolent worn hiking boots!
You are my reliable companion,
My partner.
I would like to pay a tribute
to the thrilling days when
we both experienced
the transformative moments
of land becoming alive,
the mountains shimmering
like a mirage in the distance,
and I couldn’t decide where
Heaven and Earth collided and
wondered if they are
truly different locations.

I want to be taken
back to this scene:
the metallic blue wings
of a butterfly landing
gracefully on your shoelace,
as if I had been handed an
invitation to explore
unnamed distant lands,
the thick green wilderness,
a place full of mystery and
the strange sense of wonder.

I thank you:
for the lessons
you have taught me.
For your company as we struggled
through strenuous climbs.
For the view when we reached the top.
Oh, old worn hiking boot.
My memory is still sweet with
the aroma of wildflowers
looking like they have been
set ablaze with infinite pigments.
I fill my mind up thinking about
The next adventure,
the dramatic seashores,
the thick forests and muscular peaks,
The maze of islands
just sitting, waiting patiently
for us to explore.
216 Hope Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02906-2246
Phone: (401) 421-8100
FAX: (401) 751-7674

Founded 1889

The Wheeler School is an independent coeducational college preparatory day school for Nursery, Pre-K, K-Grade 12 serving Providence, RI, Greater Providence and Greater Boston. The Hamilton School welcomes Grades 1-8 with language-based learning differences.