Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Charm of Going Barefoot in the Springtime

Yesterday the edge of the dune at LeCount Hollow looked like the entryway of a proper Swedish home, with five pairs of shoes, all neatly lined up in a row. The temps are warm enough to walk barefoot, so that’s what people were doing. It must be spring vacation because many non-residents have returned with kids, admiring the ocean beaches, taking photos, enjoying the amazing April weather. I grew up in Washington, DC where spring was a real season, shared with the whole world due to the cherry-blossom display. Then I spent 25 years in France, where spring isn’t so much a season as a philosophical concept, punctuation between winter and summer, despite that great old song about loving Paris in the springtime. Since Sven and I moved to Wellfleet a dozen years ago, not once has New England experienced a real spring. This year seems to be different. I can see tiny green leaves all aflutter on the Norway maple, outside my office window, and the birds are rehearsing their repertoire of summer songs.
Incredible sunshine this week so far: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, now Thursday, too. I used to go barefoot as soon as the weather permitted. I even can remember walking barefoot in Paris one very hot August day in 1971. (Such an unusual sight, in France, that a neighbor's little boy asked me why I was not wearing shoes. Smart kid. His quizzical look said, “Here’s an adult. No shoes in the park? What’s up?”) I don’t do that anymore, outside the house anyway, in case any ticks are meandering through the grass. But I still love to kick off my shoes at the beach and feel the sand between my toes. What is it about going barefoot? Can you help me define its charm?