Friday, January 11, 2008

Bare Feet On Gravel

Do kids still run barefeet all spring and summer. When I was young, I remember running without shoes, on sharp gray gravel, with the speed of the summer breeze. I never thought about it at the time, I just had somewhere to go and I needed to get there fast.

In those days, the idea of slowing life down was not in my mind. The sharp, cutting edge of gravel certainly was not a road block. Gravel was there for my benefit, to keep me from sinking in the warm, gooey mud deposited by the tributaries of the Mississippi River. It was placed there, not to slow me down, but to assist my free flight to nowhere.

I never see kids running barefoot anymore. If this loss of toughened feet is a cultural phenomenon, it certainly parallels the arrival of fattening fast food, the greasy burger in one hand and the joy stick in another, of the latest generation.

I think barefeet on gravel needs a comeback, running freely, if not on gravel, running furiously on dirt roads and green meadows, through cow pastures and on river banks, but certainly far removed from concrete, ashen city streets with $200 sneakers over $2 socks.

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