The Sanctity of Filthy Feet

I have big feet.  That song–“Her Feet’s Too Big”–is all about me. As far back as I can remember, I wore bigger shoes than other girls my age and when they finally settled into my adult size, they were a sight to behold.

My friend Star and I were in one of those shoe warehouse places and she waved a hand toward the shelves at the end–the far end of the row.  Gosh, imagine wearing those.

I smiled ruefully and stuck out one sandal-clad foot.  Don’t have to imagine, sister. Elevens.  Ee-levv-enns.

And now it is summer and I am in the garden most every day.  We have been blessed–blessed!–with rain for a few days now and in addition to the dust/sweat grime, there is also the wet/dust/manure.

As a certified and certifiable Dirt Worshipper, I relish–and rejoice!–in looking down at those big dirty feet at the end of a long work day.  I think there can be nothing so sacred as the stigmata of soil, vining into the lines at my ankles, adhering to my less-than-kempt toenails, festooning the arches where it tickles to clean.

Every evening, I stick my feet–one at a time–into the sacred warm water of the flowing tub tap and I rinse away the remains of the day. Then dry my longfellows and get ready for bed.

These are acts of symbolic renewal, of holiness won, lost and won again. Day by day, evening after evening.

Cut wood, carry water. Hoe a straight row, thin the seedlings.

If you do not find the sacred in these homely and humble acts, I feel pity for you and invite you to tend your own soil, your own soul.



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