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Feet are the interface between the earth and us. They are our connection to the earth and the earth’s connection to us.


We can take care of our feet by isolating them

from the hazards and dangers of the world, just as we can protect ourselves by isolating ourselves and ensuring that we never encounter any thing that will harm us, challenge us, or make us feel bad. In doing so, we become weak. We begin to find the smallest injury a disaster and the mildest insult a tragedy. We lose the ability to relate to those around us and find their problems and their joys beyond comprehension as we become more and more wrapped up in our own. The world outside becomes too difficult to deal with and fraught with danger. The less we venture out, the weaker and more vulnerable we become. We descend into a spiral that results in us living like a soft white maggot in a dark damp hole. A world we cannot connect to can be seen in one of two ways. Either we don’t care about it or we feel impotent to affect it.

Feet are the interface between the earth and us. They are our connection to the earth and the earth’s connection to us. Shielded from the earth – the actual earth – immune from its rough vagaries and tenderness, we can ignore it or literally ride rough shod over it. In shoes, concrete and tarmac become your surface of choice. Like an agoraphobic prisoner in a world of our own creation we stay within the person-made world or take it with us. To the shod, this beautiful planet feels like an insole. Do you wear earplugs during every conversation? Do you wear gloves while making love? Every step is an interaction when your feet are naked. So what can you hear when you walk shoeless? Thorns say, “Leave this place alone”. Sand says, “Come play.” Stones say, “Pay more attention!” Water says, “Go crazy.” Turf says, “Run baby run.” Broken glass, concrete and gravel say, “Go rent a jack hammer and reform the society that divorces itself from the earth to stay at home and masturbate over fear of falling in love.” What do you hear when you are wearing shoes? “Everything is alright.” “There is nothing to worry about.” “There are no problems here.” Except everything is not all right. Our problems are monstrous. The planet screams at us. Just take your shoes off and listen.

— Len is a podiatry student and Tai Chi practitioner.

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