Samstag, 19. Januar 2013

Daring to bare it! (Well, my feet, that is!)

Since the beginning of this week, when snow started falling and clad my part of the world in white, I had to wear shoes most of the time, when going to work and  back home. Barefooting in sub-freezing conditions and on snow was possible only for a few minutes and necessary to keep me from getting cabin fever. Furthermore, walking on snow and frozen slush in shoes was a clumsy and awkward thing, compared to my otherwise sure-footed gait when being in direct contact with the ground underfoot. And, as usual, longer times in shoes also put more strain on my knees and hip joints, resulting in pain, at times.

Since Thursday, no new snow had fallen, and most of the sidewalks  and paths on my way to work had been cleared of snow (Except for the odd patch of snow or frozen slush here and there).

So, in order to increase my happiness and decrease stress and strain on my joints, I decided to try some  frost barefooting on my way to this week's Saturday office shift. With morning temperatures around -5°C (23F), mostly dry consitions, where the sidewalks were cleared, walking was easy and my feet lit up in pink within a few steps, indicating circulation working properly. My preparations included wearing long underwear, leg-warmers and applying bag balm to my feet as unsulation. Of course, I made sure not to wear any metal foot or toe jewelry to prevent coldth damage.

My usual antagonists and major pet peeves of winter barefooting - grit and rock salt - were lying in a few places, especially at the tram stop, where I had to board the tram to get to the central station. But I was able to evade them and had none of those nasty little grains sticking to my bare, living leather soles.

I carried my pair of closed Birks as emergency shoes, lest I encounter longer stretches of snow or wet places, where salt might have produced puddles of sub-zero C cold water - but I did not have to put them on...

I have spent the whole office day barefoot. And the office building's landlord was in today, too, and saw me barefoot on one of my breaks outside the office. Since he knows that I'm a barefooter, he smiled and just said "Make sure to dress up warm enough.". I smiled back, telling him, that I'm doing so and that was it.

On my way home, I had to use a different bus stop. Saturday connections on public transport in that industrial area are less than well-adapted to people having to work on the weekend. Having to go to that other bus stop meant partly having to walk over sidewalks, that haven't been cleared of old snow and frozen slush. Walking on that and having to wait for the bus prompted me to don my aforementioned emergency shoes on the way to prevent frost damage to my bare feet. Arriving at the bus stop, I could see that a lot of snow had been cleared... by using lots of rock salt (yes, that's salt in that picture below!). And since I did not want to feel that on my soles, I kept my shoes on.

But aside from those moments, I was able to spend a barefoot day at work and do a little barefooting on the way there and back.

I knew on Friday already, that the weekend might be a nice one, despite having to work, when the day unfolded with fiery colors from the sun rising through a misty layer of haze... but it was almost therapeutic for recharging me, by enabling me to feel the world with my bare feet again, after being entrapped in foot coffins at the beginning of the week.

Within the next two weeks, milder temperatures are forecast, with almost pre-spring conditions predicted for Groundhog Day (cloudy, 9°C - almost 50F).

I hope, that this is coming true, since my dear friend Sandra will celebrate the opening of her Oriental Dance studio at the new address on that day. I am planning to visit that event - barefoot, of course.

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