As children growing up in northern Minnesota, we spent so much time outside playing in the woods. We had tree houses, forts, adventure games and plenty of imagination. Mom didn’t have to “shoo” us out the door EVER. We loved being outside. We had a special theme that carried through much of our play — go barefoot whenever possible. We ought to be able to walk or run through the woods without shoes and without making a noise or complaining about the pain. Because, afterall, that’s what the Indians did and weren’t we at least 1/32nd Chippewa? So we didn’t bother too much with putting on our shoes and socks like the kids do today — we just ran out the door, across the soft green grass of home and into the woods where sharp sticks and rocks ruled. Our feet suffered quietly, and we were silent. We were fine.

Photo courtesy of Nature's Child. Thanks!

When I was an unruly teenage girl, my friends and I would walk for miles. We were unlicensed, driving was not an option yet. And we couldn’t bear to sit at home. By that time, I had left the ancient Indian ways behind and was now contemplating life as a hippie. Again, barefoot was the best way to live. We didn’t run crazy through the woods anymore; now the challenge was to tread the gravel roads and hot blacktop on our journeys to the next adventure. Incredibly, the same rules applied — endure the pain, ignore the pain, keep going though the feet were black and blistering and swollen. We made it an unspoken game — whoever swallows down the pain without complaining is obviously the better woman.

Photo courtesy of The Lulu. Thanks!

Well, guess who is still playing the game? Keep marching…though the tears streak down your cheeks. Your throat aches from stifling sobs as you try to be the better woman. At the end of the day, I look down at my poor feet and tenderly press the callouses on the sides and the bottom with a pretty oil. I know that my heart could easily get the same callouses if I don’t take care of myself. I carefully tend it and apply the aromatic oils of love. But I don’t ever complain or show the pain, my dear. Shoes are highly over-rated, and life is too short. My pain in life has made me a better woman. But maybe it’s time to go shoe shopping….

(Previously posted over at the Facebook…)

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bunn
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 21:46:58

    What a beautiful story.


  2. Dianna
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 07:20:40

    Yes, I grew up barefoot outside too! And inside, of course. But as an adult, I don’t step foot outside without at least flip-flops. However, once I come in the door, OFF come the shoes!
    Neat post!


  3. eof737
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 04:49:18

    This is very sweet… and painful. I walked bare feet when I was a child in my father’s village but I don’t anymore… I need my shoes and perhaps you do too. 🙂


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