There's something about being barefoot that lends itself to sanity. Mind you, I really hate being barefoot. The thought of it is endlessly appealing: carefree, uninhibited, edgy, sexy. I always wanted to be that girl who went barefoot everywhere, who simply couldn't wear shoes because it's so restricting. The girl whose Indian print, crepe skirt brushed the tops of her unpolished, tanned toes, or whose shredded, faded Levis wrinkled under her caloused yet beautiful heels - but no, that wasn't me. My toes were (and are, come to think of it) perfectly polished, always. Scrubbed and exfoliated into unnatural states of smoothness, simply to tuck them into expensive sandals. Usually high heeled, frequently impractical, but always adorable.
Barefoot is far too au natural for me. Barefoot usually means that something yucky is going to get stuck to the bottom of my foot. That I'm going to contract some awful disease or that, simply, my feet aren't all that pretty and they really need to be accessorized. It means that my back will hurt later from lack of arch support and that I will have to get a pedicure ASAP.
But the moments in my life when being barefoot is ok - there are a few - are the ones in which I see myself most clearly. On the beach, with my boys. In the shower, with no place to hide. And at the firepit, all summer, feeling alive and worry free and empowered and, yes, beautiful. I already miss my summer, the late nights with no concerns for bedtimes or workdays. I miss the conversations and the way we let our guards down around that fire. In some ways, it was like therapy, sitting there with our toes and hearts warming to each other. I am sad that when summer ends, we retreat into our homes like turtles, a little for protection, a little out of fear that something dangerous may be around the corner now that the sun isn't here to protect us. I can't wait for it to return, for us all to come out of our hiding places and invite the sun back in, to kick off our shoes, our cares and worries, and prop our toes up on that stone hearth again.