Barefoot

To take the shattered pieces

Of my ever thinking mind

Torn fragments of a thought that travels

Unravelling back to the beginning

And then beginning again

An echo in a chamber full of echos

Reverberating restlessly.

To quiet the inner ear

To block the outer that hears

And sink into stillness

That knows no fear

No violence

No perpetual motion of random jagged thought mobility

Turbidity

Throwing up silt like a burrowing crab

To gather the cloud, the swarm, the herd

The whole ephemeral mess

Lay it down beneath my feet

Jaunting forth barefoot

Feel the caress

Of subtle soil

Dirt

And the goosebump prickle of a sudden burr

Entering sharply

Returning my wandering attention

Markedly nasty in its intention to enter my tender flesh

And have me hopping

And plucking

Before continuing gingerly on

With more attention to the path in front of me

Gradually motion and focus brings about a state of keen awareness

Equanimous as the hawk that sits absolutely still

Knowing all his strength comes

From his abundant skill

To see movement at a thousand feet

And drop plummeting

Without falling

Gracefully stalling

Talons buried

In the trophy acquired

By grasping the present moment

*inner equanimity, stillness unbridled by the urge to be somewhere else doing something else and feeling the weight and pressure of all those pressing things ..that we should be doing instead

When ironing I should be gardening and when gardening I should be in the office and when I’m in the office I have the sinking feeling that through doing these sums and levelling the books, I am missing the opportunity that marches past without me – finishing the re-writing of my book.

The only place I find solace from the ten thousand things that must be done, is in nature.

So, like a coward I have been running there as often as possible

Yesterday, I took off my shoes. As a kid, I always walked barefoot, everywhere. In summer the heat would have me tip toe scurrying, hurrying for dappled shade.

The thing was though, that by constantly going barefoot – the feet become inured and hardened to the terrain

As a child my feet were tough

My adult feet by contrast, though often barefoot on gentle surfaces, are nowhere near as leathery and as such – all my senses were suddenly heightened

Goosebumps popped out as the sensation of tiny lumps of dirt, pebbles and stones and soft yielding dirt were bought into immediate contact with my soles

The warmth of the earth in the sun, the coolness deep in the shade where the grass was still damp

A little mud

Squelching

My eyes were snapped to the dusty path

Here, there was no inward withdrawal into day dreams – I needed to see where I was going!

My mind dropped into the moment

Particularly once reminded by the painful entry of the three cornered needle sharp barb of a burr

Leap hop hop swear

Pluck

Adrenaline!

Bloody ouch!

And so I continued

More warily

And it was a good reminder of how mindful and immersive barefoot walking can be

But slow and steady was not going to sustain me for my usual marches around about

My pace is a cracking one by nature

So I was glad I had packed my vibram five toe shoes almost as an afterthought as I headed out the door

You see, the thickly padded Hoka shoes have largely replaced my vibrams as running footwear of choice for the last year or so – they made me faster and more efficient

Or so I thought

Maybe they just made me faster, quicker, busier, less intentional, less sensitive to my environment

Less mindful

So once again, since then, I have been walking and running in my vibram five toes

The vibration of the road, the foot feel and the sensitivity and connectivity to the ground is deeply satisfying

Funny how things go around, come around,

Return

*photo in header is the lookout above Lonesome National Park which you travel through to get to Lake Nuga Nuga – there is a camping spot at the bottom of the range that is flagged for another trip down the track

The road to the lake leads through The Arcadia Valley with another campsite just off to the right at the bottom

7 thoughts on “Barefoot

  1. We used to play outdoors barefoot as kids. After I stepped on a rusty nail and the wound became infected, I gained appreciation for wearing shoes, even when at play.

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