I took a walk when the sun became hidden behind the dense summer clouds. My wobbly legs protested but the pavement called. Exertion has replaced chemistry in my quest for peace.
After a few minutes, I felt the bite of an incautious step. A little piece of glass upended and pierced the inside of my foot. It reminded me of being young when shoes were a nuisance and terrain was mine for the taking. I was walking barefoot, a modern savage for removing my shoes and walking the streets. Fifty-five-year-old men aren’t supposed to walk barefoot. It’s dangerous and an invitation to pain.
I walked several dozen steps and turned to look behind me. Little red swashes colored the sidewalk, my blood blotting the concrete with an irregular pattern.
Because there was no remedy, I walked until I left no such further trace.
I traversed the same arc after it rained. My little swashes were erased.
Life is like that if we are lucky.
A sharp, momentary pain, even if it lasts an undetermined time. All is momentary in the swath of one’s life.
The rain will come, or time will fade the bite of what harmed us.
We can take measures and cover our bare feet with shoes, yet pain will return, often from a surprising source.
Or, we can walk barefoot again, knowing that proverbial glass can lie anywhere, unseen. We can enjoy the rough textures, the literal touch of our world on our feet.
We can guard against anything, but we lose a dose of carefree disregard for the things that might happen.
There is no ‘might’ in this place we call home.
Everything is eventual, a muse once uttered. Good and bad, storm and calm, hunger and satiation. Ecclesiastes, distilled to its essence, reminds me of that frequently.
Rain will come, disguised as seconds, hours and minutes; it will surely wash us all away.
It boils down to whether you will walk barefoot despite the risk.
My feet uncovered, I decide to do it again.
If glass finds my feet again, I will once again watch in fascination as I leave traces of my stupidity behind me. But at least there are traces.
Cautious and incautious alike often lead to the same path.
I don’t want to find the glass, but I know it will find me, no matter its literal form or how confidently or carefully I walk.
Whether I keep walking is the measure of whether I’ve been stupid or wise.
My bare toes touch the bottom of the landing at the stairs. And so, I walk.