Barefoot in Longwood Gardens

Leave a comment

August 6, 2014 by scratchtype1

You probably don’t know it, but your feet are sensory organs. Seriously, please go read that article. If you won’t, at least read this quoted paragraph:

Admittedly, there’s something counterintuitive about the idea that less padding on your foot equals less shock on your body. But that’s only if we continue to think of our feet as lifeless blocks of flesh that hold us upright. The sole of your foot has over 200,000 nerve endings in it, one of the highest concentrations anywhere in the body. Our feet are designed to act as earthward antennae, helping us balance and transmitting information to us about the ground we’re walking on.

There it is. Your feet are meant, as much as we can mean meant in something that’s been fashioned out of evolution, to interact with the ground that we walk and run upon. It’s not accidental that the soles of the feet have so many nerve endings. Our ancestors of long ago needed feet that could feel the earth beneath them, much as they needed eyes that could see the tracks of the game they hunted, much as they needed ears to hear, much as they needed hands to touch the tools that we developed. Yet it would be ridiculous if we were to blindfold people to protect their eyes. It would be ridiculous if we were to force people to wear earmuffs all the time to protect their ears. It would be ridiculous if we forced people to wear stiff and cushioned gloves.

And then there’s the matter of shoes and feet. Just think about that. What the hell is going on?


I was fortunate to spend a day with my oldest brother at a place called Longwood Gardens. It’s a remarkable place and quite beautiful. But I expanded its beauty on this most recent trip because I spent much of my time there barefoot. I have seen the flowers there many times before, but this was the first time that I experienced walking over the pathways. Truthfully enough, the asphalt pathways were nothing remarkable, but the areas where there were smooth stone pathways were delightful. So were the places where we could walk upon the grass in the meadow area and the dirt and wood chips in the woods. I felt quite happy to touch upon the many different textures. I enjoyed it, my feet enjoyed it. Seriously. Think about that if you’re someone who lives in shoes most of the time. You may not understand it. But think about what it might be like if you were to have lived most of your life in a blindfold, and then about a year ago, that blindfold was removed. At first, the removal of the blindfold would be a bit overwhelming. But then later on, because you’ve removed that blindfold, you would then be able to see some of the flowers that I’ll put in at the end of this blog entry.

That’s what it was like for my feet. They have been learning to see over this past year. They are now the sensory organs that evolution gave to me and gave to you as well, if you should decide to stop putting them into blindfolds.

Longwood Gardens is a beautiful place to visit and walk around. Its beauty grows even more so when you walk it with all your senses, including those at the bottom of your feet.

I was told at one point by someone that I needed to put shoes on. That made me rather unhappy and I didn’t think fast enough to pull my smartphone out of my pocket and look up to confirm at their website if shoes were required. The only item about footwear says, “We recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes.” I suppose that’s good for people who have underdeveloped feet, but mine are well beyond that now. So after looking that up on my smartphone, I then removed the pair of Xeros I had carried with me, and was prepared to handle any more challenges to my ability to walk the grounds barefoot.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: