There is something about bare feet that seem to generate myths. We’re all familiar with health department myths, and athlete’s foot myths, and warts myths, and that feet are supposedly these fragile things.
But it’s been going on for a long time.
While barefooters will often tell you that there are no health codes prohibiting bare feet in establishments like restaurants, many who have been around for a while know that there is one area that has them. There’s a cluster of town ordinances in Massachusetts, including Lexington (of Lexington and Concord fame). Birthplace of freedom? Bah! More like the cradle of priggery.
And it started a long time ago.
It seems my Facebook feed is full of barefoot friends excitedly pointing out one of these two stories: Michelle Obama Says You Can Go Barefoot in the White House, FLOTUS’ barefoot policy for the White House, and Michelle Obama Has an Amazing Dress Code Policy for White House Guests.
Excuse me while I go take off my rose-colored glasses.
Indian Country Today had an article yesterday about Santee Sioux doctor and educator on ethnohistory Dr. Charles Eastman, entitled Dr. Charles Eastman Offered Up Wisdom On Wellness. The story is based on his 1921 article, “What Can the Out of Doors Do For Our Children?”
We (but particularly barefooters) are beginning to realize how important exposure to the outdoors is to our well-being. Here’s just one article, Health Benefits of Being Outdoors, extolling the virtues of “Vitamin N” (for Nature).
But so often Native Americans were there long before the fads.
Let me wrap up the trip that my son and I made out west. After leaving Great Basin National Park we headed straight home. We did make one short stop, though, at the Cahokia Mounds across the Mississippi from St. Louis.
I’ll have one more post about this trip where I reflect on trying to do the whole thing barefoot and not really succeeding.