The Shoe Tree

A tree dripping with shoes surprised me as I sped past it at 60mph (96kph for those who use kilometers) on SR421. I hit my brakes but too late to turn into the nearby driveway without swerving and perhaps sliding into a ditch. Luckily, no one was behind me. Instead, I continued north until I found a place to turn around.

The Shoe Tree

The Shoe Tree

Who hangs shoes on trees on a main state road? Who nails sneakers to the trunks? Who scatters shoes under the tree? All these questions passed through my thoughts as I stared at this curiosity.

I looked around for clues and noticed the rusted cars lined up on an old paved lot behind the tree.

Rusted Cars

You can look, but you can't touch.

They looked like old muscle cars or perhaps stock cars or, well, I really have no clue since I am clueless about cars. But they looked like they have potential and are not headed to a scrap yard.

Blue Car with White Stripe

Stay Away

Prominent “Keep Out” and “No Trespassing” signs stood out everywhere. But the only barrier to keep people out was a blue cord draped across the property. Hardly a deterrent for anyone wanting to get a closer look at the cars.

Keep Out

Keep out!

No Tresspassing

Don't cross the blue line.

So I started thinking. Lots of warning signs prominently placed but with a flimsy barrier that serves no purpose except to define where the “keep out” zone begins. Hmmmm. So how DO they keep people out?

The tree.

That’s it! It must be the tree! See all those shoes? Those are the shoes of the many who trespassed. Those shoes belonged to people who dared to cross the barrier and sneak onto the property to…to, what? Look into a window? Steal a car? Well, whatever their motives, they passed the barrier.

And that’s when all hell broke loose. I don’t know what happened. Dogs? Electricity? Zombies? Aliens from Ursa Minor? Whatever it was, no one escaped. All that remained were shoes and those shoes were hung on the tree as a warning.

Dozens of shoes

The odds are against you

Hanging Shoes

I wonder what you must do to hang versus what you must do to be nailed to the trunk?

Heavy Camo Boots

Heavy boots slow you down, no matter how commando they look

Dee-loris Sneakers

Dark sneakers are close, but the color gave Dee-loris away

A Woman's Pumps

What was she thinking????? Heels? Really?

Shoe Cast

Oh, come on! If you have a bum foot, DON'T TRESPASS

Sneakers Nailed to the trunk

My suggestion? Don't use white. Even though the sneakers are quiet, white is a beacon in the night.

Let this be a warning to anyone who comes across a tree draped in shoes. Don’t challenge it. Just marvel at it and be thankful that you still have your shoes.

(Disclaimer: This is a story I made up. I do not know the real reason for the shoes. I’m quite sure it’s not zombies, though. The zombie apocalypse hasn’t yet begun.)


About Dezra Despain

Life is full of stories waiting to be revealed.

Posted on March 31, 2012, in Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. It’s skateboarders who have worn them out. In Britain there is a tradition of tree dressing for ancient religious festivals, but I saw a tree near a well in Wales that was full of junk – worn out socks, brightly coloured plastic wigs. No idea what that was about. Are they trying to appease the gods of junk or kitsch?

  2. A sad fate indeed for all those poor ‘soles’ who strayed too far…

    • What a wonderful tradition! Have you seen any of these wishing trees? It sounds like it’s an old tradition that has continued through today. We have people who use fountains as wishing wells—almost any fountain will have a few coins in them—but it’s more a past time than anything. I love seeing and reading about ancient traditions still in use. Thanks for the link!

      • No, I haven’t actually seen any and hadn’t heard about the tradition until I read about the trees at Portmeirion (which is about 40 miles away from where I live).

  3. I’m really glad you’re not one of those boring, strait-laced photographers.

    • I’ve tried to be boring and strait-laced! Seriously. I’m trying all kinds of angles with photography to see where I fit. I believe my niche is beginning to emerge. I like telling stories and illustrating them with photos. And the more bizarre, the more fun!

  4. Ahh! Fantastic idea – a shoe tree!!! I love random stuff like that – it’s fun.

  5. I love reading your posts, they are so off-the-wall.

    Best wishes from a rainy but warm Spain 🙂

    • Thanks! They won’t always be off-the-wall, but it looks like lately they have been. It’s raining here, too, but it’s not warm, just cool enough for a sweater, which is nice. Thanks!

  6. This is really cool! Thanks for sharing it!

    • I’m glad you liked it!

      And I would so totally wear a peanut vest and go stalking bald squirrels to give them a hat. Perhaps your squirrel isn’t into lovely hats, though. Usually I see bald people wearing newsboy caps. You might give that a go next time…. 😉

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