ShoeTree. Tell us; What Does It Mean To You?By April (Aunt_A)
June 18, 2008
The main picture for this article is of a Shoe Tree located between Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and Wagoner, Oklahoma. WUVIE, a Dave'sGarden member (and owner of a business named "Wuv'n Acres". Click on this link for Wuv'n Acres Garden Watchdog), gave permission to use this picture. She said in a thread on Dave'sGarden;
"I'm not sure how long the tree has featured shoes, but
I've had my eye on it for a few years, at least three.
Friday evening I talked hubby into pulling over at the
side of the highway so I could take a picture of it."
SuzySweetPea from Acampo, CA replied with a very interesting story regarding a Shoe Tree in Middlegate, Nevada. Basically, the story is of a wedding, a broken marriage and a fight. After the fight, the groom threw the bride's shoes in the tree because she was going to walk away. The marriage was saved and "A year later, they brought their first child's shoes to the tree and tossed them into the branches."
Other Dave'sGarden members added that they have also spotted Shoe Trees. ByndeweedBeth added some wonderful pictures of a Shoe Tree in Oregon. Here is a link to the thread that inspired this article: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/837016/ . There are additional comments and pictures posted on the link.
Once I became interested in Shoe Trees, I searched the web and found that Shoe Trees already have quite a history; one site stated that there are over 70 Shoe Trees in the United States. The Urban Legends abound; some sites advise that Shoe Trees signal drug activity, another site states that Shoe Trees are copycats from a movie that featured a protest against war. I also found a variation of the story mentioned above (from SuzySweetPea) and a story about College Graduates throwing their shoes into a tree on campus. From Michigan to Oregon from California to Oklahoma, from sea to sea...why?
All this talk about Shoe Trees made me wonder:
I wonder; if the tree could think, what the tree would think about the burden of all those shoes...and the stink of them.
I wonder; if the shoes have become bird houses; a high rise condominium of bird houses.
I wonder; what happens when the wind blows; do the shoes smack each other and does the wind whistle through the shoes?
I wonder; do the shoes stick out their tongues to catch a drop of rain?
I wonder; is the Shoe Tree just a shadow of our untidy (unTIEdy) society?
I wonder; is the Shoe Tree another symbol of a society that has so much excess that old things don't really matter anymore?
Or is a Shoe Tree just another way for lonely people to leave a mark on the walls of the cave of a crowded world; a bit of graffiti saying; "I was here; I matter. I am matter and I am here."?
Shoes were meant to be worn; but by a tree?
Do these trees leave you feeling angry, unsettled, interested, or amused? Is there such a tree in your city or in your past? What do you think about Shoe Trees?