Posts Tagged ‘writing about feet and toes’

Mint Toes, my friend Patty’s toenails in same design, different color, July 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved

Mint Toes, my friend Patty’s toenails in same design, different color, July 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.


last days of july
tonight we bought school supplies
i’ll miss painted toenails

-related to posts toenail art haiku, WRITING TOPIC – FEET & TOES and haiku 2 (one-a-day).

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Toenail Art, my friend Patty’s toenails one spring day after a morning pedicure, May 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.


my best friend patty
her toenails are a canvas
her feet a gallery

-related to posts WRITING TOPIC – FEET & TOES and haiku 2 (one-a-day).

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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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Pink Toenails, my feet and toes after I painted my toenails a frosty pink, Denver, March 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Toes and feet are odd things. Some people adorn them; others adore them.

Sometimes we joke about them. Did you hear about the guy who was born with two left feet? He went out the other day to buy himself some flip flips.

We rhapsodize about them. The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art. (Leonardo da Vinci)

We wiggle them and dance with them. Sometimes we’d rather not think about them. They literally carry all our weight.

Footprint by Mark A. Hicks, © 1998 Mark A. Hicks, clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com (with permission from the Discovery School website) Footprint by Mark A. Hicks, © 1998 Mark A. Hicks, clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com (with permission from the Discovery School website)

My dad has narrow feet and Mom’s are fat with short round toes. We women in the family paint our toenails and sometimes treat ourselves to pedicures. (I like doing my own. One month I’ll go midnight blue, another month frosty rose. Toenails are the body’s canvas, a place to capture a mood, be rebellious. My version of a tattoo.)

I get cold feet in winter and go barefoot around the house all year long. The heels of my feet are in need of help, which I’ll tend to once sandal-wearing season is fully upon us.

What about you? Do you take care of your feet or do you neglect them? Have you ever been caught flat-footed?

Do you tap your feet?

Have you ever fallen down and got back on your feet again? 

Do you toe the line or go toe-to-toe? And if given a choice, what color would you paint your toenails?

These and many more questions are yours to answer if you step up to the plate and do a Writing Practice on the topic of Feet & Toes. Write these words at the top of your page: Everything I know about feet and toes… and start writing. Fifteen minutes, no crossing out, no stopping to think. Just write.

Put your best foot forward. We won’t hold your feet to the fire, and we won’t hang you by the toenails if you don’t do it. But go ahead and get your feet wet. Take a walk on the wild side. One foot in front of the other. A step in the right direction. Foot loose and fancy free.

Shake a leg. Break a leg.

Now step on it. Go.

my left foot, March 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved  my left foot, March 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved  my left foot, March 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved

Something’s afoot…

  • The foot is split into three main areas: the forefoot, the mid foot and the hind foot.
  • The foot contains over 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons, 26 bones (14 in the toes alone!) and around 33 joints.
  • A pair of feet contains about a quarter of a million sweat glands, which explains foot odor.
  • On average, humans will take enough steps in their lifetime to walk around the globe four times. Each day the average person will take 10,000 steps.
  • When we run, the pressure exerted on our feet can exceed four times our body weight.
  • Feet change in shape and size during our lifetimes. Feet can grow up to one size as people age and the structures within the foot relax and spread.
  • Purchase new shoes in the afternoon, when feet are at their biggest.
  • The largest feet in the world belong to a Mr. Matthew McGrory, whose feet are size 28½ (US). The 7ft-4in Florida resident has to fork out $22,745 for a pair of shoes to fit his feet.
  • The Achilles tendon, located in the heel of the foot, was named after one of the most famous mythical characters from Ovid’s Illiad. In an attempt to immortalize her son, Thetis (Achilles’ Mother) dipped Achilles into the River Styx, holding him by his ankle. His ankle became the only part of his body capable of sustaining a mortal wound. This is why the strongest tendon in the foot got the name of Achilles tendon.
  • In China during the early tenth century, foot binding was seen as a sign of beauty and was practiced by all social classes. At about age five and onward, girls’ toes were tightly wrapped in cloth, breaking the bones and curling the foot under. After a number of years, the front and back of the foot would be forced together to give the impression of small dainty feet. Prospective mothers-in-law would inspect the feet to see whether a girl was suitable to marry her son.

Feet on red Ravine

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