The dog and I made our way briskly through a crisp autumn morning. We paused before a grassy field. I took a step and did not feel the tingle of wet grass and dew on my feet. Alas, this was the first day of “serious” shoes.
I wore sandals most days for the last four warm months. I especially enjoyed them when it rained. While the rest of me enjoyed protection from numerous waterproof synthetic fibers, my feet enjoyed the refreshing chill of fresh rainwater.
This wasn’t quite so pleasant after the rain, when I stepped in dark puddles and muddy patches. I’d like to tell myself that this was one more natural element in my environment, but our Home Owners Association’s frequent dousing of common lands with herbicides inspired me to rinse my feet and sandals, as well as the dog’s paws, when we encountered these things.
When I took them off, I saw tan lines crossing my feet. I wore the sandals so often that when I had to put on “real” shoes for ventures to restaurants or a hiking trip, my feet came down with cabin fever. What are these sock things, they complained. Why can’t we feel the air.
Like hiking boots, sandals tend to make you think of your feet, until you reach that moment when you stop thinking of your feet. You look around and, if you’re not distracted, and your phone isn’t in your hand, you begin to notice where you are and, maybe, feel grateful for the dog, and the day, that brought you here.
Now that I’ve put my summer shoes away, my feet notice where they’re not.
And the dog, barefoot all the time, looks at me and wonders why I don’t give it all up and just be a dog. In sandals, I was almost there.