There they are in all their bareness…the horror!
As I wandered far into the thickets this morning looking for medicinal plants, fungi, and whatever else called out to me, I looked down for a second and noticed that I wore my “good” pair of flip flops into the woods again. Oops.
I have never cared whether or not I had on the right foot gear. I go out into the woods many times a week and sometimes I have on mud boots..sometimes I have a cheap pair of flip flops that barely cover the soles of my feet as I trek through thorns, water, mud, and all kinds of wild obstacles.
I have even hiked to the top of a steep bluff while wearing flip flops.
There is something I hate about having my feet covered. Socks and tennis shoes feel like they are suffocating the life out of my feet. I do not own a pair of tennis shoes. As soon as I get home, I take off my flip flops and walk barefoot everywhere. My feet need to BREATHE! I have always been this way.
So when I looked down at my flip flop-clad feet this morning in the middle of the forest I had a flashback:
I was 21 years old (I am 34 now, so this was quite a few years ago). I was working as a journalist for a small newspaper and was close to obtaining my BS in Journalism. I was asked to interview a lady for a special feature we were doing about the county fair. She bred and judged goats at the fair. I went to her place and talked to her a while about goats and other livestock she had. I walked outside with her to her goat pen and took a few pictures of her goats playing. Then, about an hour after leaving my desk, I was on my way back to the office with tons of notes and a few pictures on my camera. I didn’t think much of that experience…until she called the office a few days later to complain about my feet.
She called my editor. She told him that I was not dressed for a farm interview because I was wearing FLIP FLOPS while walking around her yard with her. For shame. I had no idea I was offending her so much as we were talking…here I thought I was a good at reading people (Oh how young and naive I was).
At the time I laughed about it and had completely forgotten the whole thing until this morning when I looked down at my dirty feet in the middle of a thicket and realized that some things never change! I was basically born with an aversion to socks and shoes that cover most of my feet and that is okay. I like to be barefoot and feel the earth under my feet…not sweaty socks trapped in the hot jail of tennis shoes or boots. I look back at the goat lady who complained and laugh even harder because if she could see me now her head would likely explode. BOOM. Mind blown.
On a related subject, have you heard about grounding/earthing? It is the practice of walking barefoot on the earth’s surface. Reconnecting your feet to the surface of the earth and the many electrons that are present can actually have positive effects on your health! Studies show improvement in sleep, stress levels, pain, and a reduction in the amount of electric fields induced on the body as a result of grounding. Maybe I will head out into the thicket completely barefoot next time!
Today, I work for myself as an herbalist and herbal educator. Like the goat lady, I too have a farm. I feed the chickens, mow the lawn, and go wildcrafting and foraging in nearly bare feet and will likely continue to do this for the rest of my life. I am my own boss. If someone doesn’t like my exposed feet, that’s not my problem. By all means, they can call and complain, but I cannot promise I will contain my laughter.
Oh, and I have never injured my feet as a result of not wearing the proper foot gear…(knocking on wood so hard right now).