Listen to “Sweet Soles” by Sheree K. Nielson

There’s an unspoken truth about shoes left at the beach. No matter how long you leave them on the boardwalk or in the sand, chances are, when you return from your walk or swim or kite flying, they’ll be there waiting for you… eager to caress and soothe your tired, exfoliated feet, guiding you back to your house by the sea, Schwinn bicycle, or Jeep.

Whether they’re Teva black flip flops, leather Birkenstocks, or the strappy gold metallic kind, sandals gather together for a shoe fest of their own.

I wonder what they’d say to each other if they could talk? 

“Slow down!” or “You need a pedicure” or “Your soles are killing me!” or even “You’re so soft and smooth”.

They say you can tell a lot about someone by their shoes. I suppose the same applies for sandals.

I know mine are the ‘comfort’ Teva’s – the longer they’re worn, they conform to my feet. The fabric straps once ebony black, have faded to a pleasant midnight-purple, bleached by the sun and kissed by my toes.

Sometimes they require a good ‘ole Dawn dish liquid washing after particles of sand get stuck in the cracks of my flip flops, or pick up smells from the beach.

Every time I slip on those flip flops, they remind me of all the places I’ve visited, and countless adventures I’ve yet to experience.

Over the years, I’ve purchased a couple more pairs of sandals. But somehow, I end up choosing the seasoned black Teva’s over all the others.

My husband says beach sandals remind him of the diversity in this world, and how each person, like sandals, can be different from one another. Some sandals have thick complex stitching or expensive leather. Others are as simple and humble as a molded ninety-nine cent pair of plastic flip flops from the Dollar Store.

Eyeing those sandals lined up along the boardwalk steps, or scattered in the sand, I realize people have chosen to trust each other. When we kick off our shoes, we leave worries behind, allowing the beach to invigorate, renew and strengthen our minds and bodies. We’re left vulnerable – open to sights and sounds, and even conversations with perfect strangers.

And just like our naked soles at the beach, we become one with each other.

Essay from Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits – An Emerson Inspired Essay Collection on Travel, Nature, Family and Pets. (Ocean Spirit, 2018)

Sheree K. Nielsen is the Author/Photographer/Poet of 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances (inspired by the sea and her lymphoma journey), Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Category Winner, and Montaigne Medal Finalist Midnight the One-Eyed Cat (a picture book: coauthor), and Chanticleer Semi-finalist Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits – An Emerson-Inspired Essay Collection on Travel, Nature, Family and Pets. Her newest collection of poetry and photography, Mondays in October, (released July 30, 2019 by Shanti Arts). 
Her other works are well represented in Southern Writers Magazine, AAA Southern and Midwest Traveler, Long Weekends, South and North Brunswick Magazine, Missouri Life, among others.
When not writing, Sheree’s discovering new beaches and coffeehouses with her goofy dogs and patient husband. Four content cats complete her family.
Connect with her:
Sheree’s Warm Fuzzies blog, Facebook, TwitterInstagramLinkedin
Buy Sheree’s books:
Amazon Author page and Mondays in October book