No, this isn’t about angst or the economy or politics. In North Carolina there is a tourist destination called The Deep Bottomless Pool. Only it isn’t bottomless. You can all thank my son for this. Every summer, years ago, I would take my children to the mountains of North Carolina to show them the Continental shelf. and the cabin where you can stand a broom vertically with no support. I showed them what flint was and how it was used to make a spear point. I took them to small dairies so the could watch cheese being made. Readers note: Orange, although a beloved color is not the natural color of cheese. We would go watch the potter’s throw clay and watch weavers rattling at them looms, quilters bent in half over wedding ring quilts. They picked apples, flowers, found mushrooms and frogs. They combed the creeks for emerald crystals and garnet spheres and then we’d go to the mines and buy a bucket of salted dirt.
And then there was the Deep Bottomless Pool, a short walk through the woods. It’s quite small and I believe some brave soul went down in scuba gear and could tell you how many thousands of feet it was before his feet hit bottom. When he did hit bottom, his feet were on the dozens of shoes my toddler son chucked down there. Without any notion of cooling his feet in the pool, he’d shed his sneakers and hurl one triumphantly in the dark water. And before I could say, Ta ta, Alex, Ta ta” (yes, I said “Ta ta back then. He was only 18 months old.), he’d tossed the other in for good measure. The next day, freshly shod, we followed Alex up the path to the pool where he repeated the shoe hurling and he was about to go for the Gold by including Toddler hurling into the mix. I also believe that this was the day I stopped saying “Ta ta” and substituted, “Noooooooooo!!!!!!!! Alex!!!!!!!!”
Over the years, Alex added to the collection. He’d wait sweetly until my attention was directed by a bird, or the beauty of the changing leaves or the sunlight slanting through the trees or whatever poetical garbage used to run through my head. And he would be just as sweet when I turned and saw the Shoeless Wonder. Definitely Not Bottomless.