What if these boots could secretly open up? What would they say? They'd probably ask us if we were truly ready to tackle the road less travelled, dig deeper into the deepest depths of the proverbial Pandora's box. And if we nodded in unison and in the affirmative, they'd probably throw into our direction belts, berets and missile loaded rifles.
Belts to buckle ourselves up ready for turbulent times in the treacherous outdoor and wild terrains. Berets to shield us from the scorching overhead sun and from the drench of the ice cold morning dew. Rifles to defend our lives and our wildlife from the insatiable greed of cold-blooded poachers.
Armed to the teeth, the boots would probably lead us to the seasonal downstream partially muddy waters of the river in the far end of the park, our water bottles in hand to fill them with the fuel for the journey ahead where after a few miles we'd take short but calculated gulps of water in-between the short stops to catch our breath in the presence of the clean crisp air of the wild.
And before we leave ground zero, we'd most definitely fill to the brim our daily dry ration reservoirs because once we slip our socked up feet in our heavy boots, tie up the laces, we just never know where the hours will take us. The patrol and ambush could probably take us hours, days or even weeks.
The wild is uncertain.
One boot in front of the other, like a well coordinated rhythm, ascending and descending hills, valleys and mountain peaks, trekking across vast bush grassland savannahs to rescue a baby elephant stuck in a deep muddy puddle in the middle of nowhere.
The jaded boots have without a doubt encountered better days. Seen and heard it all, conquered a barrage of freaky terrain heights, encountered and pulled themselves out of untold deadly and heart-rending moments. In-between short and long paced boot strides, the mission remains clear; to fight wildlife crime and protect some of the world's most endangered wildlife species for posterity.
Hail the heroes and sheroes donned in combat regalia. The men and women who would rather die in the line of duty than tell the world how the friction and heat of the boots scarred their feet. We celebrate the valiant men and women long departed and those in service up to the task of dedicating their lives to the noble cause that is wildlife protection.