Monday, September 16, 2013

Benefits of Barefoot, a Shoe-free Summer


It happens about this time every year, when the wisdom of my grandfather and my mother tells me that Mother’s Day has passed and it’s finally safe to plant a garden and embrace life in the flower beds.  The leaves have nearly fully sprouted and the grass goes from its spikey dormant self to a lush carpet that needs to be mowed every other day or else small children and dogs will be lost by walking out the back door.
It’s the magic of spring, which is truly a gateway to the vigor of summer, which for me means that for the next few months, my short fingernails are allowed to be dirty and shoes are only required where that little sign hangs on the door, refusing service.  Because as soon as it’s close to possible, we don’t wear shoes.  I won’t say that that is my favorite thing about summer living in Ohio, but it ranks right up there.  Sure, it’s no pie and ice cream, but here are some convincing arguments for ditching your shoes and wiggling your toes in the summer sun.
Cut the clutter.  If you have a large family such as we do, chances are there is a room where all of your shoes gather and accumulate and assemble in such force that one day they and their odor might take over the world.  Once the barefoot policy has been made, your home will appear to be much more neat and tidy.
Excuses for pedicures, or lack there of.  Some people like to have ornamental toenails.  Others, such as my barefoot self, will destroy any speck of polish that makes contact with my body in a matter of seconds.   If you are the kind of person who likes fancy feet, going barefoot will work in your favor, requiring you to decorate.  If you are the kind of person who would rather not, you can share my excuse.  “There’s no use of trying to pretty these things up—the only color they see is caked on mud or grass stains.”
A little bit of dirt between the toes does a brain good.  Studies have shown that some of the bacteria found in soil is actually good for your brain.  Certain bacteria can activate the neurons that produce serotonin, a well-known natural antidepressant.  Therefore, there’s a good chance that playing in the dirt can make you happy, and I’m not just talking about the tickle you get by squishing it between your toes.
Free massages!  Going footloose and shoe-free makes every step a mini-massage.  Your feet are full of about a zillion different muscles and when they are cramped up in shoes all day, they don’t get to do their thing.  According to some foot historians, people didn’t start having tootsie problems until the Renaissance, when shoes became the cool thing to do.
Electrical powers keep you young.  One set of beliefs says that walking barefoot on solid earth allows you to properly absorb free electrons from the ground beneath your feet.  And then after a bunch of science gobbelty gook, the end result is that your body has an increase in anti-oxidants, which we know are the good things that keep us healthy and young.  
Save money!  With three kids whose feet change sizes every other week, we have a constant mountain of non-fitting shoes around.  Not so much in the summer, though, and with the money saved from all that footwear we can enjoy our summer with as much pie and ice cream as possible.  
So once full-blown summer hits, you can find us out the back door with our dirty feet.  We’ll be smiling and relaxed, feeling healthy and electrically charged enough to not worry about the condition of our unpainted, plain piggies.  Unless we drip the ice cream.


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