Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Walking back to happiness

In the last few weeks, something in Nature has changed. Or, rather, practically everything in Nature has changed. Alternate days of very warm and wet weather over recent weeks has notched the setting of the garden up to 'lush'. There is now so much more of it! Every branch is feathered with leaves, and blossom hangs heavy, tempting sleepy bees and promising fruit.

Something changes in me, too. Outside is now where I want to be. This desk, which was a welcome observation point in the winter and early spring, is now a burden. The Earth is trading its energy with the Sun, and I feel that I want in on the deal.

So I take the quickest and easiest route I can think of: I head out into the garden, barefoot. I've been doing this for several weeks, of course, but only as far as the clothes-line, with the washing basket in my arms. The feel of the damp grass has been pleasing, but the trip has merely been a means to an end. This time, the journey is the beginning, middle and end.

Onto the grass - in the presence of Dandelions

In a sense, that is the most important part: I am walking for the sake of walking, and for the sake of knowing that I am walking. I am not going anywhere, I am just going. And I want to feel the journey, however short it may be, and to feel myself present on the earth.

As I walk, I feel the transaction between my feet and the earth. I feel that there is an energy, a presence, a life beneath my feet. I am aware of temperature, texture and traction. There is a give and take, an adjusting of pressure in each footstep, an awareness of the difference between stone and leaf. 

In the wood, with holly leaves, humus and stones

There is a sense also that I am empowered: I have chosen to walk barefoot, and to attempt to become more conscious of the natural environment. The busy world laughs at those who go barefoot, or is embarrassed by them, but those who choose to do so discern something of the richness that is gained only when we remove our shoes and dare to stand barefoot on sacred ground.

The earth leaves its imprint on us, too

Walking barefoot reminds us that we are part of this world, connected to this earth. It makes the link that is missing when we wear shoes - that there is a slower, more mindful way of going through life, one that takes notice, one that feels, one that concentrates on things one step at a time.

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