sex, money, and miscellany: talking about what matters

grass, barefoot

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 at 11:11 am

The first time I went barefoot for pleasure was in my first year of college. One of my floormates had a reputation for going barefoot well into winter term (in Minnesota) and it was a lovely early autumn day. Why not? I peeled off socks and sneakers and laid my feet on the sun-warmed concrete.


I had forgotten that I had feet. That is, I had forgotten that feet had skin and nerves and senses. I had forgotten about wiggling my toes. The sidewalks were in great shape–clean, grit-free, freshly scrubbed for the new school year. My feet were tender but it just meant that every step was a delightful wash of sensation. Next I tried the grass. Incredible, alive stuff under my toes, pushing up, holding me up. It was an exercise in freedom, in aliveness, in sense memory, in risk.

And it got me grounded. In ways I still cannot describe, putting my bare feet directly on the earth connects me to something large, huge, implacable. Everything will eventually be all right, and I am not alone. It reminds me to feel, it reminds me to breathe, it reminds me to be of this world and not

  1. Now I understand you risking the European Fire Ants this afternoon while you were on the phone. Love grass between my toes but don’t dare here, because of those NASTY little pests.

  2. I’ve been thinking along similar lines lately as I mow the grass barefoot, as my father did before me (though I have a reel mower, so it’s a little safer). I stepped on a rusty screw last week and had second thoughts, but in the end just bandaged it and finished the job barefoot, because it’s important to me. (So are tetanus shots.)

    Laura, I attended a summer camp on the Texas/Oklahoma border in 1996 and 1997. In ’96 I admired a guy who went barefoot the whole week, so in ’97 I tried it myself — but the fire ants had moved in in the meantime. I got about 50 stings and then boarded an intercontinental flight… my feet swelled up to about twice normal size. Yow! So yes, south of the Mason-Dixon line I have second thoughts about going barefoot!

  3. I grew up doing all sorts of made up games and foot races with my sisters and cousins, all done barefoot. Secret telling as teenagers? The same, as far away from the house as possible. When you live in the country summers are spent as close to the earth as possible, at least this would be my experience. Getting me out in the snow is a heck of a lot harder because of cumbersome foot gear. But all in all, country summers are a good enough reason to stick around for me.

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