While walking around the northern New Mexico town of Madrid* last week, I suddenly looked up.

"Alex, check it."

She followed my eyes to see a cluster of shoes hanging on a wire.


There was something very familiar to me about the scene:  it seems no matter what city you're in, wherever in the world you might be, at some point you are likely to come across at least one pair of tennies hanging over a telephone wire.  Normally, I assume it's evidence of some kid teasing another kid, but here in New Mexico, it was a cluster of shoes.  Surely there wasn't just one bully in this tiny town stealing the other kids' shoes?

I took the shot, but the question nagged me.  So once back in Houston, I decided to check in with Google, to see if shoe tossing was a thing.

Whaddya know -- it is.

Turns out it even has an official name -- shoefiti, like "shoe" and "graffiti," get it? -- but there isn't one single reason that explains why people do it.  That said, there was one particular explanation that I loved:

Yet another legend involves that shoes hanging from telephone wires signals someone leaving the neighborhood onto bigger and better things.

I love that explanation -- and the thought that someone from that tiny town is on the cusp of a great personal adventure.

And I especially love it since I took that photograph on January 1st.  Here's to new years, and bigger and better things.

Also?  Someone find me a telephone wire.   I've got some Chuck Taylors I need to toss.


*  This town's name isn't pronounced like you think: it's MAAA-drid.  That's how you know you're not in Spain.