Three sets of footprints in the snow. Two with fully defined treads. Mine barely register. Iím twelve years older than the two of my partners combined. This is my fifth pair of boots and the soles have gone smooth. I walk carefully. We do a call and I canít make it up the icy driveway. I keep slipping down the incline. I have to hike up through the snow to get to the door. I have had this pair of Fort Lewisís seven years, and they have stood me well. I order a new pair that night and they arrive on Christmas eve. I put them under the tree so I it will look like there are even more presents when my daughter awakes in the early hours and checks to see if Santa has come. In life we give way to youth, all of us do. We fade away. But I hope this new pair of working boots wonít be my last. I have more earth to tread on, more inclines to climb.

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