I was surfing the web recently. Ever since college, I have wanted, desired, coveted a pair of Birkenstocks. I can’t tell you why. I guess something in them spoke to me of comfort and freedom and peace, love, and joy.
I came across a web site about earthing. Now, it was a new term to me. Then as I read the site I got both excited and offended.
I got excited because I recognized it. The idea is that you walk barefooted to connect with nature and become more grounded after a time of being trapped in the shoes of the modern world. I roared.
You see, I’ve been an earthing earther since I was 3. I’m not sure that I ever bought the “connection to mother earth” marketing ploy, but I was always terrorizing my mom by shedding my shoes and hiding them if she didn’t pay attention.
I loved freshly cut grass–the living grass was warm under my feet and bent to the will of my toes while I could make the dead stuff fly through the air like I was the captain of a fairy army.
I would splash through puddles and small streams feeling the subtle pressure of any currents and getting a little achy around my joints.
I could feel sand slowly flowing in response to my heel and then the balls of my feet and then each of my toes waving in freedom. It would also subtly resist my efforts to move it where I wanted, and I could feel that resistance creep through my ankles and up my calves.
Dirt–dry and powdery–was and still is a special sensation for which I have no words; I just know the simple feeling of sensuous joy and relaxed pleasure that creeps through my body as my toes push the powder around. I often had a hard time finding the magical dirt as it resulted from the right weather and wind combinations.
I hated my dad’s paranoia about bacteria in the environment and germs in animal poop and the risk of slicing my feet open. It was a special act of defiance to wait until he left and sneak those stupid shoes off my feet and wiggle my toes in the breeze.
Even in college and graduate school, I would shed my sneakers or sandals and wander across campus. I got older and gave it up, but now as I grow into my adult skin I find I still enjoy it if no one’s watching.
Why did I get offended? A simple pleasure like walking barefoot has turned into a marketing nightmare of modern proportions. You have sheets that can ground you and yoga mats and wristbands. There are mouse pads and keyboards pads and special pads for your feet at a desk.
But the most horrific product of all to me, regardless of the provider, are the earthing sandals and footwear. Why would you wear any kind of shoes if you want to feel the earth beneath your feet grounding you to all the universe?
Looking for me? I’m driving around in my flip flops, looking for the best place in the world to plant my bare feet and walk away the anxieties of the modern world unimpeded by the imprisoning shoes and sandals.