👤Joanne Campbell 🕔Apr 01, 2012

Goodbye snow, and good riddance! I don’t miss the icy pompoms that glue themselves to the bottom of my jeans when I go for a walk around the yard. And I don’t miss the three-pound sweat boxes that get strapped onto the end of my legs for five months of the year. Yes, it’s finally time to throw the winter boots into a box at the bottom of the basement stairs and exchange them for ten-toes-a-wiggling in the spring air. It’s time to bring on the sandals!

And no, it’s not too early for sandals. I wear sandals from the time the snow leaves the ground until it flies again in fall. Yes, I do get peculiar looks, but my feet are insensitive to the judgement of others. My feet are well tended, have some pretty polish on the nails and aren’t crusty or disgusting—so really, what’s the big deal? I like to feel the air sweep over my toes and around my arches and ankles. It’s refreshing.

At least I’m wearing something on my feet. When I was a kid growing up in the wilds around Prince George, I didn’t wear shoes much at all. I could dance barefoot under pine trees. Run for miles down gravel roads. Pop bottle caps with my big toes. It was heaven. But then I moved to Vancouver, where civilized society had its way with me and demanded I be shod summer as well as winter. My calluses disappeared and soon I could detect a dime through three layers of socks. It made me soft.

Occasionally, I’m delighted to find a holdout from the old ways, a rough-grounded sole-mate. Many years ago, our friend Gavin played slow-pitch barefoot. I seem to recall that he had prehensile toes, but I may have manufactured that detail to embellish the memory. Being barefoot did limit his entry to the bar for after-practice drinks, however. And I swear that I’ve seen our editor, Paul Glover, darting around his fire-pit, feet naked as they were the day he was born.

Eventually, my feet travelled all the way from barefoot bliss and innocent sneakers to full-on status quo. When I worked for an advertising agency in Calgary (about the time of the last ice age), I wore four-inch heels to work. Every day. That was when I was a big-city gal who wore dress suits and lipstick and didn’t care if tip-toeing around on the balls of my feet would one day lead to shortened hamstrings and frozen toes. Just recently, it took three months of yoga before I could separate my pinky toes from the rest and wave them feebly on their own. I giggled because I had assumed my toes were permanently welded together and just took it for granted they wouldn’t move as single entities ever, ever again. The idea that individual tootsies could once again wave freely in the wind was kinda cool.

Now, in addition to the ubiquitous sandals, my non-snow-oriented footwear includes water shoes to protect my silky soles from barnacles and crab bites and those pointy little rocks that poke my tender insteps with their sharp extrudy bits. Man, I’ve gotten weak! I should run down to the gravel pit and do some laps sans shoes; build up a good slab of callus!

Who needs sandals anyway? Well, OK, for work…yes, I can see that…and maybe when I’m downtown—I wouldn’t want to give some tourists the wrong impression. But when I’m home and you come to visit, be warned! My feet will be naked. And my pinkies will be waving at you.