It doesn’t take long to lose the joy... Sitting on the subway I sense my toes curling, gripping inside my shoes, as I think about the upcoming hospital visit. My intent to stay open in my body has chased the tension down into the farthest corner. But I don’t want to hide; I want to feel. Yes, toes, it’s true: I feel anxious and afraid. Having stated the obvious, I unclench my toes and let my feet spread back out. I imagine them breathing inside my shoes as I sit on the train. A faint vibration from the tracks pleasantly massages my soles. I picture the twenty-six bones of each foot gliding against one another like marbles in a bag. I roll my feet along their long axes--weight on the outside edges, then rolling slowly to the inside edges. Slowly out and in, back and forth. My left foot mores more smoothly than the right, the one that had that sprain. Gradually I notice sensations above my ankles, inside my shins, like a vague itch deep inside my leg. I imagine the membrane between the two lower leg bones stretching.
When the twenty-six bones of each foot can glide within their sheaths of connective tissue, they cushion our steps with natural resilience. No shoe design can compensate for a foot that has lost it’s “give”. This is because that resilience begins in the membranes of the lower leg. When the feet can be felt to begin just below the knees, their interaction with the ground is softer, their support for the whole body--for good posture, better.
I will try to let that natural cushioning accompany me up the hill to the hospital. Just like my students, I must “learn to walk all over again”. Every day I have to learn it again, because every day presents new ground, new roads.