Barefoot freedom

One of my favorite feelings as a kid was achieved by walking barefooted through the cool grass in the early morning.
I think for most of my childhood, shoes were simply an accessory wore when you went to town. Otherwise, there was nothing covering the bottoms or the tops of my feet. The bottoms were always a little tender as the transition from cold weather shoes happened but once the soles of the feet were hardened a bit, the only thing that became problematic was crossing blacktop in the heat of the day. You would cross the road like a duck on a bed of tacks exclaiming “Ow, Ow, Ow” for however many steps it took to get through. Then you would stand in the grass until the burn lightened up.
Despite this minor inconvenience, walking barefooted would carry us everywhere we went from neighbors’ homes, on bike rides, to the pool, to the local store, to the creek and the woods and everywhere in between.
Maybe once or twice a week, my mom would call me in from play saying we were going to town and then I would have to remember the last place I put my shoes, take out a fresh shirt and get ready for an afternoon of “lookin’ and feelin’.” This usually meant a little fun along the way, maybe an ice cream sundae from Woolworth’s lunch counter or maybe even an afternoon movie matinee.
If I was lucky enough to have a friend along, to my mother’s chagrin, it could mean a game of hide and seek around the clothing department as she and one of her friends looked through the racks. The games would be short lived as soon as my mother noticed with a promise of discipline if we did not settle down. In most cases we did. However, there were a few times which pushed the envelope and developed a hand-shaped red tattoo on my posterior.
No matter the experience, I cherish those memories of the days when bare feet strengthened my understanding of the world. Each step toughened my soul and took me to so many adventures which fueled my imagination and gave me hope that another adventure was always just a few steps away.
If you are far away from these days, why don’t you take your shoes off in the morning and walk across your back yard in the cool of the morning, or drive to a nearby creek and stick you bare feet in the water as it rushes by. Find that barefooted hopeful youth who once fueled your dreams to uplift your spirit.