• Deborah Burgoon London

Trees of Soles and Their Unheard Stories


A Tree of Soles

Crazy thing A Sneaker Tree. Sounds unusual but actually there are several Sneaker Trees sprinkled throughout the U.S.. Many of you know this particular row of Trees. I found them right in our own County. This area of amusement, with no cost for admission, can be found at the intersection of Foss and Lakeshore Roads. The story began in 1986 when Earl Baun was helping his girlfriend clean out her closet and they decided to fling up several pairs of her shoes into these Trees. The next 30 years many people have added their own footwear. Some have names written on them and others have random messages. Some appear to have been worn by children and others by adults. With one upward spin of motion anyone can leave their "footprint" to be seen by all, for as long as the Tree survives. In total there are four Ash Trees. The method of attachment varies from a good old shoe toss into the branches to a more secure nailing down onto the Tree trunk. It is an interesting concept of using a Tree to hold the stories of individual items. With shoes, I am certain that if they could talk they would have some awesome tales of the feet that used to walk within them. No doubt they have traveled some miles and have many secrets within their soles. Much like the Trees that harbor them. Perhaps some evening I will sit under the Trees, look through the branches up to the stars, close my eyes and listen as the wind blows through the soles and branches. The lessons the wind could provide in It's whisper of words might bring inspiration for future adventures. Fun fact is that not only are there Shoe Trees across the Nation, but unique Trees like an Underwear Tree in California, a Flip-flop Pole in Hawaii, a Hula Hoop Tree that once stood in Iowa, and my favorite...a Cowboy Boot Tree in Texas. History tells us, many times these Trees were not readily accepted within the areas they began. But as each Tree began to grow and more people added their own "personalities", the amusement of it all continued and has brought grins and giggles to all that joined. One thing really caught my eye on one of the four Trees. Hanging from a branch was a mask and written on it was "COVID-19 United We Stand 2020". I have said that after COVID is a memory, I want to have a mask burning party, similar to the old bra burning parties of the 60's and 70's. Yes kids, that was a thing. After visiting this Tree I wonder if it could be an inspiration for a Mask Tree. Have you ever heard the saying "The higher the hair, the closer to Jesus?". Wonder if that applies to personal items in Trees. Maybe that is the motivation. Whatever has inspired a themed Tree with unique individual elements, know this, it is sure to entertain and delight all those who come upon it. Keep a look out for future Photo Perks for images from the Shoe Tree.

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A Row of Shoes in Branches

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