My mother taught me a springtime ritual that I have passed on to my girls, and I hope they pass it on to the next generation. As soon as the weather is warm enough, we go outside, take off our shoes and socks, and dig our toes into the fresh, spring grass. There’s something about the sensation of the springy, cool grass on our shy, winter-tender feet that electrifies the whole body. My brother used to take the experience to the next level by challenging his siblings to a barefoot race across the gravel driveway in a spirit strongly reminiscent of the recent “ice bucket challenge” trend. The race across the gravel hurt like the dickens, but the pain was erased by the healing sensation of the cool, fresh grass on our sore soles. By early summer, our feet were toughened sufficiently to walk anywhere on the property without shoes. My feet have not forgotten their upbringing – putting socks and shoes on in the warm weather feels like a prison sentence.
I’m so thankful for my barefoot childhood… and my barefoot adulthood. My steps know the ground around my home with a personal connectedness they couldn’t achieve through heavy, rubber-soled boots. I feel the energy and life of the earth and all living things, and I share in that energy. My daughters roll their eyes when I talk that way, and they call me a hippie. Oh, well… if the shoe fits… (humor intended). But they’re just as eager as I am, if not more so, to get their shoes off and wiggle their toes in the grass!
Have you felt the spring in your step yet this year? What would happen if you set your bare foot down in the grass somewhere? Maybe nothing. But maybe it’s just the boost you need after the long winter – maybe it’s just the right dose of new life to give you hope that there are better, warmer days ahead.