The meaning of brushing one’s shoes

Today I spread some paper over a table in the garden shed and set about brushing my shoes. This is not something that I do on a daily basis any more, since my habitual footwear has been the trainer for a decade or two. Brushing my shoes, whereas part of my early morning routine as a schoolboy, is no longer a quotidian chore. As an activity it has been upgraded to an act of preparation for the more elevated rituals and ceremonies in my English lifespace, such as weddings, Christenings, and funerals. It is with sadness that I have to report that today’s brushing is tied to the latter, since tomorrow I go to Sheffield for my friend Gerry’s funeral.

The apparatus of the shoe cleaning ritual

Brushing shoes is a strangely contemplative activity. Perhaps the sound of bristle against leather serves to generate a mantra of the 20th (sic) century industrialised West. In the silence that surrounded the rhythm of the polishing stroke, I could hear Gerry talking, and laughing his infectious laugh, too. Of course, all this was within my imagination, inside my head. Still, maybe that is how he will live on; fondly remembered by his friends and family, speaking to them kindly in the depths of their imaginations, from time to time and for old times’ sake.

I feel that a little quiet noodling on guitar is required now. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

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