Be where your feet are
Let me be very clear: I do not have a foot fetish.
I mean–I like clean feet, clipped and soaped and smelling nice but until this week I never realized how deep, how astute, like a robed-philosopher, feet are.
Let me explain.
When this whole quarantine thing happened I binged watched the news. Addicted to “breaking news” and “on location correspondents” I would sit on my couch and obsess over what was happening to the world.
How long was this quarantine thing going to last? Is this social distancing thing real? How many people are projected to die? And selfishly and shamefully…if this thing stretches into spring, will baseball season be canceled?
The world was spinning so fast, like a big-league fastball, and I just wanted to see the seams.
In the good ole’ days of quarantine (we were–like– so young and naive then…) I believed being informed was my job.
But I found out how little I knew.
I also found out, and this applies to most stressful circumstances, that the head and the heart, like rambunctious 3 year olds, are not the best quarantine companions.
This week I came across a children’s book entitled, “Be where your feet are” and I thought, wow!– what an awesome mantra for me, an uncertain 40 year old man who–when the kids start arguing over who gets the first pancakes–thinks about flinging open the front door running away.
We rarely have pancakes. We’re a waffle family.
Anyway, over the last seven weeks, I think it’s fair to say we all, at one time or another, wanted to be somewhere else.
School. Parties. Baseball games. Podiatry conventions ( Yes– they’re a thing). And yet we’re exactly where we stand. In the kitchen. The bathroom. The hallway. At the apron of the driveway.
When the order of the day is “stay home”– the head and the heart are like those no good college friends who pressure you into doing and thinking things that spin your moral compass. But your feet point true north.
Our head rambles hypotheticals and projections and hearsay. The heart tumbles doubt and fear and uncertainty.
The head and the heart over-complicate things.
But feet are uncomplicated. Simple. Utilitarian. Present.
And in a time when uncertainty reigns, surefootedness is what we need.
If you’re feet could talk right now they might say, “This is life. Accept it. Or deny it at your peril. But either way, put a sock on me. The piggies are cold.”
When I was a kid, mom would make me wear shopping bags on my feet before I strapped on a pair of Velcro snow boots. I hated it. I always complained how I was the only kid with bags on my feet. Like I was homeless. And mom would say something like–than you’ll be the only kid with dry feet.
And I was.
Keep your feet comfortable and dry and you could play in the snow all day.
And another thing–if quarantine limits our physical doings, it increases our internal chatter.
We’re putzing around the house incessantly thinking of stuff. Work. Money. Bills. Planned Events. That canceled podiatry convention. We drain a lot of energy just thinking. And the noises the head and the heart produce, like the noise of those unruly 3 year olds in the back seat of the car, can drive you mad.
So it’s a good thing the foot controls both the brake and gas pedals. It’s also good feet don’t have ears.
Socrates, the father of modern philosophy and the inventor of socks (where do you think “socks” came from?) famously said, ” Know thyself.”
And to “know thyself” you must be mindful of where you stand.
You must be where your feet are.
PS– That Socrates thing was simply a poor attempt at humor. I’ve been in quarantine too long. Like my hair, my jokes are shabby. Forgive me.
The Quarantine Blackout Poetry Project is a weekly project my 12 year old daughter and I work on together. It is my attempt to create “our thing.”
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