This week I said good-bye to my beloved babouche slippers. I bought them on our first return (we used to live there) trip to California...twelve years ago. Over the past few years, a tear in the side of one slipper grew so big that I could stick my entire hand through it...many of the sequins left nothing but tufts of thread to hint at the original design...and the insoles sat crumpled under my arches. But still, I wore them every day.
I loved these slippers + twelve years is a good, long term of service. As I cut the slippers apart (I'll compost the leather), I was moved to thank the cow from which the leather came...and the craftspeople who stitched the design to the leather and formed the pieces into something that fit my feet so well. It reminded me of Native Americans who connected the lives of animals to the provision of their shoes or coats or meals + took this connection very seriously. I actually felt more connected to the elements + makers of these slippers in their destruction than I did purchasing them or wearing them day after day. It was a strange sort of realization.
I know that even now, the discolored leather that I cut away could be scrubbed + made into something new...perhaps baby shoes. The worn, plastic soles could be attached to different slippers. The remaining sequins could be removed + reused. What is now deemed disposable is not truly useless. We live in a strange world...where...at the moment...we feel that there is a never-ending abundance of resources. Our connection to those resources can get lost.
But our connection is not lost. Our skin comes in contact with materials that the earth has produced + human hands have formed. We put nourishment into our bodies multiple times every day that sun + soil produced + human hands passed along to our plates. Awareness is all that is required...and then gratitude can flow.
P.S. I know that the use of animal products is a topic that can elicit strong feelings. For the most part, I try to avoid it here. I apologize for any insensitivity in the posting of this. I have posted (however ineloquently) about my personal feelings on this issue once before + respect others' commitments to abstain from animal products.