|A human foot carved in limestone in Egypt around 600 BC.|
. . . Take a look at your feet: the slanting row of toes, the ball, the arch, the heel, the ankle. Why don't you admire them? Go even further — love them! Why not? They are beautiful. Think of what they do for you. They are masterpieces of design; they are miracles. Stand up on them. Sway forwards a little, then backwards, then from side to side. See how you balance. You could not do this without them. Be conscious of how your body is standing upright, erect, the centre of gravity running straight from the top of your head through your spine and pelvis and legs right down to your feet. Watch how the mind controls what the body does. Wriggle your toes. Stand on tiptoe. Rock back on your heels. Bend your legs, one after the other, flexing the Achilles tendon. Your legs and your whole body are supported and balanced by your feet. It feels good, doesn't it?
Step out of the bedroom. What freedom you have on your own two feet, what choices, what infinite possibilities! You could take them — or they could take you — across the landing to the bathroom or into another bedroom. You could move them downstairs into the kitchen or the living room or the garden. Or down the street and round the park and into the shops. Or up the hill and through the woods and by the lake and past the crossroads and along the river as far as the sea. And beyond the ocean there's Yssingeaux, Xanadu, Morocco, Samarkand . . .
Don't try putting on your socks just yet. Why don't you go barefoot for a while? It's normal, it's natural, it's liberating. We don't walk barefoot enough. We lose touch with our feet, our beautiful feet, in thick socks which make them hot and sweaty. We encase them in ill-fitting footwear, fashionable and expensive shoes and boots, which cause them suffering and deformity. We pervert four million years of evolution by forcing our feet into unnatural contortions. Go barefoot for a while and taste the freedom. Feel how directly and naturally the heel and the ball of the foot touch the wooden floorboards, the cool tiles, the lush carpet, the dew-laden grass. Feel how the skin loves this contact, and hardens a little to protect itself, yet remains sensitive to all the textures and temperatures of the ground surface . . .
(Image from Wikimedia Commons.)