Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Piedi Nudi 2

So, yesterday morning the experiment continued. I went to walk barefoot in the Botanic Garden.

This time social pressures were not a factor. Members of the Garden are allowed to go as early as seven, two hours before opening time, and it seems I am frequently the only member to actually enjoy that particular perk. At seven in the morning I rarely see anyone else there, apart from the workers out setting plants, blowing leaves, or whatever.

The walk was wonderful. The walkways there are smoother than the one in Audubon Park. And dogs are not allowed, so the dog-related concern is removed, making it easier to look up as I walked, rather than watch every step.

And there are all kinds of grasses, from smooth, silky ones to rougher weedy areas.

At first I stayed on the paved walk, because the grass had all been watered by sprinklers, and my civilized instinct of staying dry kicked in. But after a while, I realized that the worst that could happen if my feet got wet--was that my feet would get wet. And that they would dry. So there went that little bit of civilization.

Then there was the moss. I love a certain trail there, which goes off the main path and crosses a tiny little stream, so that you get to walk across a bridge formed by one huge stone. Much of this trail is covered in moss, and it felt so good to walk on. I'm sure I've walked on moss before barefoot, but not for that long. It was while walking on the moss, I believe, that I thought, "I just might start walking here instead of at Audubon." It's a little drive, but so worth it.

Then there was the long dirt trail that goes along the back of the property, where the fallen trees are taken to be cut, and where the compost heap resides. Ah, that feel of soft dirt on the feet!

Of course, because I had been walking on wet grass, my feet actually got a bit of mud developing for a couple of minutes, but it soon dried, and they were just dusty again.

At the end of that path came the real challenge. I had to choose between walking on gravel, or walking on the grass along the lake, where the geese spend lots of time. Which means goose poop.

Having experienced good poop on the shoes once before from a lunchtime walk, and having to abide the horrible smell until I could get back to work and clean my shoes, I opted to walk on the gravel.

That didn't last long, however! Tiny gravel is walk-onable, but this big stuff just plain hurt. So onto the grass I went, with eyes open and alert. And I got around the lake poop-free, cause for rejoicing.

My feet were very wet by this time, so I sat on a bench on the other side of the lake to let them dry before walking back toward the entrance and my car. There are few things more peaceful than lying on a bench in the sun, alone in a huge park, watching geese and ducks, at 7:30am. My feet were drying nicely....when suddenly I heard a not-exactly-peaceful "whoosh!" I looked up and saw that sprinklers had popped up out of the ground, and a stream of water was headed my way.

I put my socks and shoes on as quickly as I could, and walked back to the car with them on.

While I'm thankful for shoes, which certainly have their place, I'm also thankful for bare feet, with their 200,000+ nerve endings, and for the joy of actually feeling things I haven't felt for years, even decades, just because I've always been wearing shoes. I'm sure it's waking up my brain.

Maybe that's why I'm writing more often lately, who knows?

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