Posts Tagged ‘soles of feet’

It’s hard to concentrate on feet and toes; yet they carry me everywhere I need to go. My poor feet were so sore after gardening last weekend. I think it was the hard-toed boots. We were clearing buckthorn from behind the house with a chainsaw. The city comes this week to haul the brush away for free.

So we were stooped low to the ground in leather gloves, long-sleeved T-shirts, heavy jeans, and safety glasses, chain sawing these medium-sized buckthorn. Invasive species. Birds like the berries, but they are laxatives. Not good for them. Buckthorns grow like weeds. It was good to let them go. We planted three red dogwoods in their place. And one cranberry bush next to the peonies.

But my feet. My feet are a size 8 (1/2 size larger than they were 20 years ago) and shaped like my mother’s. I thought she had beautiful feet. I saw them a lot growing up in the South where it’s hot and open-toed shoes are the norm. She always kept her toes finely manicured, toenails painted. I remember those 70’s nail polish and lipstick colors, frosted and speckled. I wasn’t much for painting the nails back then. I like it now but don’t indulge much.

Bottom line is I don’t pay enough attention to my feet. I really should treat them better. I notice them when I’m in contorted positions to garden or do yard work. I notice them when I ride the Honda Rebel, Ramona, or the Suzuki Savage, Suzie. They are the only thing between me and the road. They hold me up — a firm steady foundation.

I don’t go barefoot very much. I have tender soles and like something between me and the ground. Unless I’m sitting in the grass or on the deck. Maybe at the labyrinth’s center. I like walking the grass labyrinth in bare feet. Breath anchored to the bottom of my feet. That voice kept playing in my head as I walked. Breath anchored to sounds, to hands, to the bottom of my feet. Grounded and present.

Feet are our ground, the place where the rubber meets the road. Unless you’re a couch potato, a computer nut, a TV freak (I’ve been all those things). Then the butt might be the place you find ground.

It’s my gardening day. I set up a 4-hour a week gardening practice when I was in Kansas City a few weekends ago. It’s part of the structure of my creative work. Last weekend, I bet we spent 6 or 7 hours, back-to-back in the yard. And I’ve got the sore lumbar to prove it. I’m not as nimble as I used to be. But that can’t stop me. I did use one of those garden pads for my knees when I was chain sawing at the neck of those buckthorns. Liz had it when I moved in. She’s got knee pads, too, forest green.

The garden pad is robin’s-egg blue. I found out from Antiques Roadshow that robin’s-egg blue originated in the 1880’s, a favorite color of Victorian times. A woman had an antique copper bracelet with robin’s-egg blue stones. It was worth about $10,000. It would have looked nice around the ankle, adorning the feet.

I recently saw Georgia-born Cat Power on Austin City Limits. She had a bracelet half way up her arm. Metal with a charm hanging off of it. Reminded me of Cleopatra or Wonder Woman. Either way, she wins.


-handwritten practice, posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

-related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – FEET & TOES

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I am grateful for feet. Grateful for the way feet have a hard outer layer that gets thicker the more you go barefoot. I’m grateful for the practicality of feet, for the way they transport and support me, for the fact that they can be beautiful and useful, like Danish furniture.

When I look at feet, I think, Who invented them? What designer would have created ten digits, big-to-little, five per foot? What designer would have then copied the design to hands?

Our bodies are bizarre yet familiar. We could have looked like dogs, and we have most of the same parts as dogs. They have feet and toes, although we came up with other words for them. Paws and what? What is a dog’s toe called? It’s not a claw. That is a dog toenail.

And in the realm of smells I like, I have to add doggy paws to the list. Salami, pickles, roasting garlic, anything sweet or doughy in the oven, and dog paws. They smell salty, like corn nuts on a road trip. And oddly, Fritos. (Odd because dog paws are a kind of free toe.)

And I vacillate between loving my practical, pragmatic foot, hard-soled, good for padding around the back patio, and loving a soft heel, filed and tenderized by lotion. I tip-toe on damp garden soil to check the progress of cosmos seeds and small marigolds and larkspur, aware of the foot’s magical power to repel the mud that otherwise presses itself into the grooves of a shoes’ soles and gets deposited back in the house. No, feet soles are smooth and sleek and almost immune to goatheads. Almost.

On a bus ride from Delhi, India to Agra, I sat on the console shelf of a luxury bus liner, up in the cab with the driver, his assistant, and five others hitching what we thought was going to be a normal, air-conditioned bus ride to the Taj Mahal. We folded our bodies into a small space for so many, although the space seemed spacious, surrounded as it was on three sides by wide contoured glass. I pulled my bare feet up to cross my legs in a Zen-inspired tortured, deprived, pained position. Several hours sitting in a pretzel shape up high with a 270-degree view of Indian highways—monkeys and tigers and elephants on chains and flame-throwers, women selling tea in small clay cups that you toss out the window when you’re done, and fields of blooming marigolds.

But before I could settle in, the bus driver and his assistant flipped out when they saw the bare soles of my feet (bared my sole). The men shouted in high voices and waved their hands, pointed to my feet and then to the Hindu goddess who sat silent and dignified on the dashboard, a garland of marigolds wrapped so many times around her I could barely make out her face.

The men muttered words of doom—”Now we’re going to crash on account of your Zen feet, your American tendency towards immodesty and insult…” (no, really, I only imagine that’s what they said)—and in the way I’m quick to correct my offenses, I dropped my feet, slipped them into the pink Italian leather shoes I’d worn on the trip, and sat side-saddle on the ledge of the console, aware that feet, toes, and legs are appendages that I’m used to flopping around, like a purse or a scarf or a stray arm. And to hold them in one spot, ladylike and proper, was almost like having my ankles tied. No feet, no freedom.

-related to post WRITING TOPIC — FEET & TOES

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