I once spent an entire summer barefoot. I was 22 and worked as a waitress in a fancy restaurant on south Pender in British Columbia. I lived on north Pender, so in order to reach the restaurant in time to put on shoes, set up and welcome the first guests as they arrived between 5:30 and 6, I would set off, shoe-less, at around 3pm, hitching a ride with whomever I could.
By the end of that summer not only had the skin on the soles of my feet grown tough; my ankles were stronger, my feet broader, my centre of gravity had descended and I felt deeply connected to the ground.
For years now my feet have lived in shoes, and whilst they seem pasty in comparison to the wild woman feet I had that summer on Pender Island, they are still one of my favourite body parts. I like their broad, sturdy appearance and I think they are well suited for growing roots. Maybe it's time to take my shoes off again.