Monday, October 8, 2007

NPR - Go through life barefoot

Well, sometimes. I've written about my walking adventures from problems with my van. And living 3-4 miles from the nearest commercial center only leads to walks down rural tree-lined roads. In our part of the country we try to make room for bikes and people with special lanes when and where we can. Otherwise it's the soft, rain-soaked rocks and dirt alongside the asphalt. But it's still nice to depend on feet.

It's a whole different pace of life, not just how you go, but what you can carry back home. But as life would have it, there is one rule with walking, and we've all read and heard it:

Wear good shoes!

I keep saying this being an occasional hiker for several decades - I have a great pair of hiking boots. And I have a few pair of lightweight boot-shoes. I love walking, and once I find my pace, I feel I can walk forever. Or at least until the feet decide differently, and hence the barefoot logic.

Well, last week's walking caused a few small blisters which are normal and heal fairly quickly to keep on walking the next day or so. But as I get older or forget to walk a lot for awhile, the blisters get larger or worse. And that's what happened Sunday walking to get Sunday papers and a coffee at Starbucks.

The Starbucks is a five minute drive, which is my normal routine, but I decided to walk since I was only going for papers and coffee - a doppio con panna if you must ask. About a half mile short of Starbucks the feet started to hurt. As they say, not a good sign. At starbucks I took off one shoe to find a real old-fashioned silver dollar sized blister opened and red on one heal and a small, beginning one on the other. I found some band-aids to cover the worst one and headed home. But alas, it was not to be.

But a good thing is that the county, city and utility company built a bike/walk path for 2+ of the miles home, so I took off the boots and walked barefoot. It's an interesting experience walking 3+ miles barefoot. Something I wouldn't recommend unless your feet are ready for it. The smallest peeble can be felt. Each step reverberates up your spine. And I got a blister on the base of my heel.

Such is life. I walk barefoot in and out around my home. I just haven't walked for the distance barefoot. But it was worth experience and may do it more. We evolved with good feet for walking, and develop minimal shoes to keep from hurting the soles of the feet too much, like sharp objects and extreme cold or hot surfaces. And for the most part, barefeet work pretty good if not pretty - who's feet are anyway. They're form and function over beauty.

Anyway, sensing the world through your feet is interesting. It keeps you aware of what's immediately in front of you.

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