I haven't logged in many barefoot runs lately. One on Thanksgiving that got me all the way around the temple before my feet went numb. One two days ago, late morning, when the sun was up and the frost had mostly thawed the grass in the drainage basin. Two times around the bowl before I couldn't feel my feet. Perfect.
What those two barefoot days reminded me: how little we feel of the world most of the time. How much we miss, walking around with our shoes on. "The soil is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod." That's Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Too bad a barefoot run was out of the question today. I put on wool socks and my "barefoot" shoes and a hat and gloves and took Andrei the Giant up the mountain--next best thing to going barefoot. The dog agrees.
The fog made everything look so ethereal: hoar frost sprouting from each blade of long grass, each branch of scrub oak, and the cloud sitting low on the rocks jagging up the ravine. Tried to take a picture for you, but my phone said no connection with my camera. Because of the two times I dropped it on cement, perhaps?
A day for birds. A hawk sat on the top of a power pole, feathers puffed and head tucked in against snow that wasn't falling as much as being squeezed out of the fog, like flour dust, dry and fine. Little flocks of starlings and sometimes chickadees kept flying up as we passed. I saw a flicker swoop into an oak cluster, wings pink in the snow dust.
Passed a man with two matching spaniels off their leash. I put Andrei back on his and was happy the guy sent his dogs down the hill off the path while we passed. Happier they were well-trained enough to do it. Andrei would never, off his leash. No self-control with other dogs.
Do the power lines sizzle more when snow hits them, or do they always buzz that way and you just don't notice until the fog makes things so silent that you hear remaining sounds more? Like the dog howling from some house, somewhere. The chatter of chickadees. The city noises, below and away from our path.
By the time I got home, my face, bum, and the second toe on my left foot were numb, even with wool socks. Perfect.
I think our brains need alone time with themselves. They need a chance to think, to feel, to be silent. To run barefoot, if you're me. To walk on the mountain. Or just to sit and be alone with living things. Easy to forget in a wired world.
Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones
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