Feet. Everything we are starts with our feet, and still, they are perhaps our most neglected body parts. We hide them in socks and shoes, we cover them in stiff leather, balance them in too high heels, we squeeze them in half a size too small, or let them glide around chafing in half a size too large. We call them stinky, we pinch our noses, we try to keep them as far away from our senses as possible. We don’t caress or pet our feet. We don’t study them closely as we do our hands and knees, perhaps. We hide them from others and know that we trespass in those cases we stick them at someone. Only the weird, perverted ones like feet.
And yet, when our feet doesn’t perform according to our needs, the rest of us fall apart. A broken feet has far more dire consequences than a broken hand. If our feet wouldn’t be as unquestioning, strong, loyal and sturdy as they are, if say, they were more delicate like an elbow or a wrist, giving in to the least little pressure, rendering pain throughout the body from just a small bump. If they were not what we ask them to be, what we command them to be, without ever talking back to us, what would we be as humans, as wanderers? That we are designed to move is a universal truth I’ve already dealt with in numerous occasions. That I in particular cannot stop, for the simple stillness sickness catching up with me, most of you already know. And hence, this ode to my feet.
Life is tough. Nothing is really just happening because you deserve it. It happens because you earn it – the hard way. I am privileged to have feet like mine. Large, sturdy, flat, thick. How many times have I jumped and landed on them. How many times have I been pushed and still, found the balance to land again, swiftly rise, dust myself off and move on. How many obstacles have they climbed, how many roads have they been forced to abandon for the rougher terrain? How many pieces of cow muck, how many ant nests, toads, sea stars, pebbles, remains of human faeces (don’t be surprised), hornets, nails, shattered glasses have I not clumsily placed these feet on or in?
They are also the first to touch holy ground in the magnificent temples of Hinduism, to be blessed by the cold, crisp water of a crystal blue mountain lake in Tajikistan. They have been washed by kind Mongol hands while singing a local lullaby I still can recall. They have crossed borders, climbed desert sand dunes, they have ran between buses and they have sat very, very still for days on end on these Chinese continent crossing trains. They have walked bare feet over the ancient ruins of Tíkal, they have crossed the beaches in Palawan, they have stuck out from trains in Myanmar and they have bathed in hot springs on Iceland. They have worn flip flops, brogues, high heels and sneakers. They have sank way too deep in a stream of poo in Sudan, they have been bit by hundreds of swamp mosquitoes in Guatemala. They have been nibbled on by leeches in the mother country, and they have walked mile after mile, days after days, on every possible surface on the five continents. Maybe bruised, but never broken. Oh, glorious feet, I thank thee.
Now when life takes another unforeseen turn, I am forever grateful for the swift, light, but sturdy and solid feet of mine. Making sure I land safely even this time.