Tuesday, April 15, 2008

These Birks Were Made for Walking

Today, my friends, is First Birk! As I do every year, I shall explain, because I understand that when one creates a holiday, of which they are the solitary celebrant, others cannot be expected to understand the jubilation and import of the event without a little context. And so, the context:

I own a pair of Birkenstock sandals for which I have a great deal of affection. First Birk falls on that first glorious spring day when I decide it's warm enough to bring my Birkenstocks out of the winter slumber of my closet and bare my (pale, admittedly in desperate need of a pedicure) toes to the sunshine.

Thanks to the unpredictable weather in Chicago, it's hard to know when First Birk will arrive. For example, last year First Birk fell on March 25th when it was a crazy 81 degrees. This year spring has been elusive, but this morning I determined that today's projected high of 62 was warm enough to warrant breaking out my beloved cork and leather sandals.

Today my Birks enter their 8th season. I purchased this pair of faithful footwear in Austria during my semester abroad. I finally found them after a long day of shopping, once I figured out that prouncing the brand name with a German accent (BEER-kehn-schtOHk) as opposed to how most Americans say it (Ber-kin-stahk) did wonders when asking shopkeepers whether or not they carried the object of my shopping desire.

From that day spent wandering around Salzburg until now, these sandals have seen a lot. They've walked down the street on 3 continents and in over a dozen states. They've ridden a camel with me in Morrocco. They've hiked through the woods, walked along the beach, been caught in the rain and sloshed through puddles. Someday they will wear out and I will be forced to retire them, but until I am compelled to do so, each spring I will celebrate First Birk and look forward to the adventures they'll see that year.

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