As a child, I loved warm weather. Everything I loved came with it- playing outside, lightning bugs, swimming, and going barefoot. Being allowed to go without shoes was perfect; the sense of touch is nothing if you don’t use your feet to experience it. The cool dirt between your toes, the just-mowed prickly grass, the soft dandelions- who needs shoes?
And then I had a daughter, who at 2 years old would. not. go outside without her faithful Crocs. “My Crocs live here in the mudroom, Mommy. I put them on when I wan’ ta go outside. Know that?”
We tried going barefoot, figuring that leading by example would sway her love of shoes. But no such luck. She would take maybe two steps before going right back to her chair to put on those shoes. Those sweaty, dirty shoes. Those shoes that barely protected her feet from anything, since she was constantly getting rocks, dirt, and grass inside them.
One day, out of nowhere, she said, “Hey! I am going barefooting!” Barefooting? I tried correcting her. “You mean you’re going barefooted?” “No, Mommy. I am going bare.foot.ing.”
And thus the term was coined.
And that one word started me thinking- am I “barefooting?” Not literally (though why not?), but figuratively. Am I going back to what is natural? What is better- even best– for me? (You don’t want to tell us that wearing shoes is good. Really. Don’t get Danny started on the effects of shoes on feet. Trust me.) And -ouch-why am I not telling others about these healthier ways?
For a little over two years now, we’ve been getting “crazier and crazier” (at least, that’s what most people say. Danny and I happen to think we’re normal and everyone else is crazy.). We’ve cut some foods from our diet. We’ve cloth diapered. We’ve tried to avoid plastics. We’ve dropped our paper usage. We’ve improvised. We’ve been barefooting.
And you know what? It’s fun. It really is. At first, it seems daunting- maybe even scary. But then you try it. You feel the grass tickling your feet. You see an ant march over your toe. Before you know it, those poor shoes are abandoned. And you realize that barefooting isn’t all that bad.