|Timeworn feet, Glastonbury Abbey|
The museum director herself, in a 2010 article, notes that the shoes "are iconic symbols of the Holocaust since they are personal and each represents an innocent life."
Once one starts thinking about shoes, and feet, as symbols of both human individuality and a universal bond between all humans, past and present, suddenly crowds of associations patter, dance, and stomp through one's mind: the milestone of Baby's first steps and the enshrining of them in bronze, old silk slippers in a chrysalis of tissue paper, a heavy pair of men's dress shoes in a closet bearing silent testimony to the father who once carefully polished them and kept them in shape with shoe trees.
For some reason we frequently found ourselves noticing evidence of the passage of feet on this summer's trip to England--humble, mute evidence of the many lives that came before us. Maybe it was because we were literally following in their footsteps as we climbed stairs and followed paths. Or the attention to detail even in carving feet in sculptures created by artists' hands long ago. Or perhaps it was our own blisters, weary arches, and stones in shoes that goaded us into noticing.
|Steps, ruins of Glastonbury Abbey|
|Medieval floor tiles, accessible under wooden lid, Glastonbury Abbey|
|Worn steps to Chapter House (built 1306), Wells Cathedral|
|Unhappy man removing splinter on column in Wells Cathedral|
|Worn step in temple precinct of the Goddess Sulis Minerva, Roman Baths|
|The looooong staircase in the Marshall Wade House, built around 1720, a National Trust house we stayed in that was right next door to Bath Abbey and looked out on the square that included the Roman Baths|
|...we did also spot the flatfish known as a sole on the shore in Bradwell-on-Sea.|