Tuesday, July 30, 2002

"Isn't it nice to lose the socks?" said my neighbor P., the guitarist. Er, that's how I'd translate what he said, more or less.

And I agree, it is nice to lose the socks. One of the glories of summer is to be able to wear sandals and even more minimal variations on sandals; it would be even nicer if I could go barefoot completely. I think I've never gotten over the barefoot halcyon summers when I was 9 and 10 and 11 years old, when my parents shipped me off to my Uncle Wilbur's farm in Iowa for a couple of weeks.

I would get up with my cousins as soon as the sun was up, then we would run outside wearing only the flimsiest pairs of shorts, slipping our bare feet into galoshes to do our chores: gathering eggs and feeding the chickens and dumping silage in a trough for the cows. Then we would kick off the rubber boots until the late afternoon, when chores had to be done again. Kicking off those boots was the mark of complete and utter freedom. We didn't even bother to put shoes on when we decided for no good reason to go running through freshly cut fields of dirt clods and hay stubble that hurt like hell, shouting, "ow, ow, ow, ow!" as we ran.

I suppose the city streets are even more hazardous to my feet than those fields were, so there's no question of trying to go barefoot now. Besides, I don't think my feet are tough enough anymore.

The Swedish verb for the day is att springa. It means to run.

- by Francis S.

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