alskuefhaih
asoiefh

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

happy feet

-
-
Where have your feet been? I heard this week that through cell phones, our comings and goings are trackable, and predictable. We tend to go the same places in our daily routines no matter what our lifestyle is.

Look at Mikhail Baryshnikov's feet. Imagine if you could track his comings and goings. I caught the first shot of a recent interesting photo shoot Annie Leibovitz had with him now that they're both in their sixties after knowing each other 30 years (not the photo at left), and my eyes were drawn to his feet. If you go to that first shot link you'll see him standing on a black box in her studio on the right side of the photo, his toes overlapping the edge. Veins bulge from what look like bulky broad bald hobbit feet. They're beautiful. I believe in his feet. I remember the first ballet I went to, it was Nutcracker, and what do I remember most? The sound of dancers' feet hitting the stage when they lept and jumped. A person who weighs 130 pounds bears about 500 pounds of pressure with every step. So, extrapolate that to a leaping, jumping Misha who is just my height, 5'6" or so, but I think more than 130 pounds.

Now look at Annie Mullins' adopted feet. See her here wearing her athletic prostheses. She has different ones - realistic flesh-like legs for dresses and even hand carved boot ones with high heels. My friend Jean posted a TED video presentation of hers. I watched, stunned, as this model-actress-athlete who was born without shin bones and had her legs amputated below the knee when she was about a year old could electrify a huge audience to encourage kids to go where they want to go, not in spite of circumstances, but through them, because of them. She stood and walked around on the stage, her black jumpsuit fluttering around her legs, and I never would have known from the way she carried herself and her level of confident authority, what she was born without. I believe in her feet too. I think of that Emerson quote at the Princess Margaret Hospital by the chemo completion bell: "What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

I've learned not to judge myself by celebrities. I know these two are celebrated for extraordinary skill, training, and perseverance, sometimes through remarkable pain, and live up there in the stratosphere of accomplishment. But their feet interest me, because feet are normal. They touch the earth or the floor every single day. They are so basic that even though Aimee didn't have them, with help she fought to get and use them, even competing with athletes whose legs were born healthy. Think of Jake in Avatar and how he went nuts running around and jumping on his new avatar feet after being a human paraplegic.

I think of Don's feet going to and from the barn, up and down the barn steps, walking among his chickens. Or standing in his classroom several hours a day, five days a week. Or Susie's feet in her kitchen standing and moving from stove to sink to refrigerator as she prepares meals with love for her family. Or rauf's feet that run up and down the stairs to his sisters' apartments to look in on them when they're ailing. Or Loring's feet that faithfully march in peace to the stop-war beat. Or the feet of my students who walk miles in a week getting to classes on our huge campus. Their feet are part of their education. Or Lesley getting to work in Manhattan from Astoria, Queens - walking to the elevated train, then riding, hopping out on the platform, switching trains, then getting out, climbing the stairs to the street and walking in any weather to her office. I tell her she should wear flat shoes to and from work, but you know New Yorkers, shoes are part of the ensemble, and what would NY street life be without fashion? For something a little depressing if you love them, look at the effects of high heels.

Feet. There they are, at the bottom of my legs. One fourth of the bones of my body are in my feet. During my lifetime I will probably walk the distance from the earth to the moon. In between I'll stand, balance, lean, walk, dance, run, turn, pivot, squat, wiggle, dig, point, press a gas pedal, then quickly brake a pedal, climb stairs, descend stairs, stand on tiptoes to be taller. Martha Washington said,“Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It's a miracle, and the dance...is a celebration of that miracle.”

Today I'm going to shuffle, skip and jump in a foot party.


-
-

71 comments:

Gwei Mui said...

Indeed feet are so much more. Great post. I guess I think more about my feet or should I say foot since I had to have re-constructive surgery about five years ago. My foot now relies heavily on several titanium pins. No longer do I take for granted the ability (or now in my case inability) to dance or run.
I'm just glad that my feet ares till attached to me even if it is with metal assistance!

Bella Rum said...

Wow! I'm looking down at those feet right now and giving them a little more respect. We often forget about our feet - take them for granted. I do pay a bit more attention to mine these days. Some of the sensation is diminishing, and I don't take them for granted the way I once did.

I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Ruth. You have a way of taking the ordinary and elevating it to a place it should have been all along. Thanks for the insight.
Bella

Bagman and Butler said...

Great blog -- so much intersting stuff about a topic that might seem at first to be mundane. Feet turn out to be a very soulful subject. Bagman thinks that yours are very attractive.

Susan said...

My sister thinks her feet are pretty and I always tease her about it. But I really do think your feet are pretty. :)

It's almost as if our feet have a brain and a will of their own...operating independently...doing so many extraordinary things.

Thank you for celebrating feet, Ruthie. (and thank you for the mention) XOXO

VioletSky said...

One should never skimp on their foot care. Good shoes and a good pedicure are essentials. And a foot massage is more than luxurious - your whole body quivers in thanks for a good foot massage.

Kat said...

I just wanted to say how much I love the photo of Bishop on your SMALL site.

♥ Kathy said...

I love this Ruth! I'm a no shoes kind of girl and my feet pay for it.

The Bug said...

You have lovely feet! Mine are short & squatty - I'm often amazed at how they're able to carry me from here to there, not always gracefully, but reliably. I put lotion on them every morning after my shower - it's my way of saying thank you!

Jodi Anderson said...

When I was 13, I had a mad crush on Mikhail. Meow.

I never, ever wear shoes inside the home. I feel clumsy if I wear shoes in the house.

Sandy said...

What an interesting post. I really enjoyed it and now on my walk today, I will remember and think back to where all my feet have been in my almost
60 years. You have cute feet. I have the most awful looking feet I could never post a photo, ha.

Today my feet are going to walk into a small office I have here in the house, my husband's, not mine, and clean out tons of books...but that is after I get a good walk in with my feet, and then hopefully come home and dance with the rake for a little while outside and get some more leaves up. This is a never ending job out here because we have a lot of trees and it just keeps on...

Also I have big feet so they can cover a lot of area.

maggie said...

What a superb post in so many ways. Your links to Annie Leibovitz' chat with Mickhail Baryshnikov-the part I loved the most was her saying: '..it's thrilling to be this age'- I think she is 60. Don't know about you but I need and want more women with age that love themselves as role models. Also your link to Ted and Aimee Mullins-loved it -her whole thing about 'burdens' and not trying to devalue them or avoid them but to embrace them. Ok then you with your talk of feet and appreciating them. Why do we often have to lose something before we appreciate it??? It is so great that you are appreciating, enjoying your feet. Thanks for such a rich post.

julie king said...

my feet are yearning for spring and sandals and the feel of the water sprinkler as i water the flowers.

i think mikhail is wonderfully sexy! thanks for the photos! (pitter patter goes my heart) hee hee

Deborah said...

Wonderful post, Ruth. You made me look at my feet tenderly.

Babs-beetle said...

I often wonder at our feet, and all the hard work they do, along with our hands.

Fragrant Liar said...

Wow.

That is the best post I've read all week. Your point really spoke to me, and now I appreciate feet much more than I did. When I see provocative writing, I marvel. So I hope you'll forgive me for saying I kinda love you right now.

Plus, I do love my own feet. They have carried me SOME miles.

California Girl said...

You inspire and surprise me with your images and prose and thoughts. This is a lovely post.

I need a pedicure :)

lovely you said...

Oh, feet! This makes me think of a Kahlil Gibran quote I love: "Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
You have pretty feet, Ruth.

Oh, and I made the Japanese salad dressing recipe you shared, and it is dee-eee-licious! Thank you.

Patricia said...

Ruth,
I loved this post and yet I can't help contrasting it with the repeat of "The Charlie Rose Show" that I watched this morning while on the treadmill. An orthopedic surgeon was reporting on what it was like to work in Haiti a week after the earthquake. So many injuries that were not addressed quickly resulted in amputations. Many people will live the rest of their lives with useless limbs as well. Let us all not forget donating to groups such as Doctors Without Borders.

Ruth said...

Gwei Mui, I hope you are not in pain, but that must have been hard to recover from. We had a friend who fell from a height mountain climbing and broke many bones in his feet. I don't remember how many surgeries he had, but there were several. I can't imagine working on those small bones and getting them right again.

Ruth said...

Bella, I just know that when my feet hurt, everything feels miserable.

I wonder why your sensation is diminishing? That happened in my fingers, with carpal tunnel. Maybe there are nerve bands like that for the feet that get pinched.

Ruth said...

Hi, B&B, tell Bagman thank you. After seeing my mother pinch her toes in pointed shoes and high heels, I learned to take care of my feet.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Susie.

Your feet go a lot of other places besides the kitchen, but I know they might be happiest there. You have trained your whole self in the creative art of making food, and I admire you immensely. I always know who to go to for foodie advice!

Ruth said...

Oh yes, Violetski, I think I told you about my famous massage from the guy with big hands. When he worked on my feet I nearly wept. And I didn't know before that how the nerves of the feet are connected to our internal organs. Yay reflexology!

Ruth said...

Kat, oh, thank you. She is a wondrous cat.

Ruth said...

♥ Kathy, you must mean walking in your yard. Yes, nothing worse than stepping on something sharp. I hate walking across the gravel in our driveway. I look like a jittery chicken.

Ruth said...

Dana, winter is terrible on feet. I use a lot of lotion too, or my heels turn into sandpaper.

A warm lotion foot massage right now sounds like heaven.

Deslilas said...

One must be really silly to say "Bête comme ses pieds".
"As dumb as his feet" (as dumb as can be).

Ruth said...

Me too, Jodi, no shoes in the house. But I don't go barefoot in the winter, we keep the house cool. Right now I have socks and also a lap blanket, and this laptop keeping me warmee.

Ruth said...

Sandy, I like what you wrote. We could focus like that on a different part of the body different days and get a different POV. We should do hands next.

Ruth said...

Thank you in turn, Maggie, for your rich comment. I just read yesterday about Jane Fonda's face "work." While I was happy that she talked about it openly, honestly, I was sad that she felt the need not to look like an old grandma. When did we stop thinking as a culture that aging is beautiful? I am very grateful for a mother who modeled aging wholeheartedly. It didn't hurt that she never spent time in the sun and her skin was ivory and beautifully soft.

Ruth said...

But don't get me wrong, Maggie, I cover up my wrinkles like anyone, and don't publish unflattering photos of myself.

Brenda said...

As odd as this may sound....I love my feet. So, I really enjoyed your post about them. If the bottom photo is a photo of your feet, you have high arches. Mine are like that also.

shicat said...

One summer I broke my foot. I hated it. Walking around with crutches ugh.Then I got the boot,that helped but I still couldn't go for my daily walks,and people constantly ran over me as I hobbled about the grocery store.
I remember going to a free Stevie Wonder Concert by the river in Detroit and dancing with my friend Sharon,crutch flying in the air.

Oliag said...

Lovely feet dear Ruth:) I'm still enjoying looking at my pedicure with shell pink polish I got for vacation...

I'm so happy to have followed your link to the TED lectures...not only is Aimee Mullins' lecture inspiring but someday I hope to have time to listen to many, many more of the lectures available...

...now I'm going to make my feet climb the stairs, slide into bed, and get warm under the comforter...

Ginnie said...

Oh my, Ruth. Only you would write a post on feet! :) I listened to the entire video on Aimee Mullins and was inspired. I think about my own Amy who loves her high heels and will be hard-pressed to change her "style," even if seeing the depressing effects. Remember Mom's hammer toes and bunions? I look at your feet and they're beautiful...like they're supposed to be, I'm sure. I look at mine and am so thankful my polio did not render them incapacitaed. But if it had, I do hope I would have been like Aimee. So much to think about....

Peter said...

(Thanks for showing your nice feet!)

I always wondered when our fashion leaders will change the way ladies' shoes should look like ... and make them comfortable to wear. Flat and comfortable shoes can certainly be as "sexy" ... especially if the fashion "dictates" it! The shoe issue is one of the items when I somehow consider myself lucky to be male.

Barry said...

What an excellent post, Ruth. I think you've exceeded even your high standards with this one. If blogger gave Academy Awards for posts, I think I'd nominate this one.

I've been paying more attention to my feet over the past few months because chemo has been eroding the feeling in my soles and replacing them with pin pricks.

Which are not an adequate replacement.

lesleyanne said...

i think about feet all the time, how amazing it is that all of our weight is supported by these smallish, oddly shaped things. i don't even want to know the effects of high heels! i've stopped wearing heels as much, i'll wear them around the office, and maybe to meetings. i still love 2 inch heels, like my Born shoes i'm wearing right now. ideal. i like your feet photo. :)

gemma said...

Like you I have happy feet.
Unlike you I don't have pretty feet.
Love them anyway!

Ruth said...

Hello there, Julie, Mikhail is a powerful man, and very handsome too. And he seems romantic, but I don't know much about him. I liked him in Sex and the City with Sarah Jessica Parker. I still need to watch that whole season in Paris.

Ruth said...

Good, Deborah, I'm glad.

Ruth said...

Babs, if I drop something in the shower, I can pick it up with my toes. Not the shampoo bottle, but the scrubby, that's easy. Like a monkey.

Ruth said...

Thank you for that, Fragrant Liar, and you wouldn't be lying?

:)

Ruth said...

Hi, California Girl, thank you. I was surprised too by the connection of feet this week in these two people. It blew me away.

Ruth said...

Hi, Lovely. I have just come from your haiku post, feeling all filled up. So now rereading your comment everything feels connected: poetry-wind-feet-haiku-Japanese-food-love.

Ruth said...

Patricia, the loss of limbs in Haiti haunts me. Imagining a city full of people who have lost hands, arms, feet is devastating. You are right, we can't lose that sight, and they will need a lot of care and attention to start the process for prostheses. And that is difficult, but has improved so much, I think. I hope companies will rise up and develop inexpensive prostheses that will be useful and prolific.

Ruth said...

Oh Daniel, I've never heard that. I agree with you, but I guess I can see how people start there. But if you really think about feet, I don't see how you can not appreciate them.

Ruth said...

Brenda, I guess it is odd to feel that way, I have felt the oddness too, since most people don't seem to like theirs. Maybe the arches add interest, and that's part of why we like them.

My mother broke her arches jumping from a second storey window as a girl. I'm guessing she had high arches before that, poor thing.

Ruth said...

Thank you for that image, Cathy, hobbling you dancing with your crutch held high. Stevie would do that to anyone! I am trying to think where the concert would have been - Belle Isle?

Ruth said...

Oliag, having someone else do a pedicure on my feet is a rare treat. A foot massage too. I bet your shell pink toes were beautiful on that white sailboat, wow.

So glad to be the one who introduced you to TED! I think rauf introduced me a couple years ago, and every one I've seen has left me profoundly inspired, in a vast array of topics.

Keep your tootsies toasty.

Ruth said...

Ha, Boots. Poor Amy and Lesley. I really like high heels too, the look of them, how they elongate the leg. Quite appealing.

Do I remember Mom's bunions and hammer toes? I wrote a poem about it actually. Poor dear woman, wearing high heels to please Dad. Leading the choir on those heels. Of course he wouldn't have wanted her to wear them if he'd known what it would lead to.

And you, to not have any physical limitations from your polio, sweet woman. I'm so so thankful. You have such a healthy, powerful body, and you take such good care of it. You know, I had never connected that with the fragility of your youthful self. Now that's profound. You appreciate your health, I love that.

Ruth said...

My dear Peter, merci.

You know beautiful Carla Bruni Sarkozy is a fashionable inspiration for flat shoes. I admire her style and am quite pleased her husband is short so she wears them and shows how lovely it can be.

Ruth said...

I mean he is shorter than she, Peter.

Ruth said...

Barry, your walk up to the bluff with Lindsay sounded painful, and then exhilarating. I'm terribly grateful.

Thank you for your kind comment.

Ruth said...

Sweet Wesrey, I'm sure your 2inchers are good, especially if they're Born. I have to wear high heels sometimes. It really feels like dressing up when I wear them.

Ruth said...

Good, Gemma, I'm glad you love your feet - and you walk more than 10,000 steps a day!

Jeanie said...

I have a love-hate relationship with my feet. Love 'em because I need them (or some reasonable facsimile) to get where I'm going and do the things I love. Hate them because at moments like this (when my heel spurs are kicking in and the orthotics person can't get me in till March 20), they hurt. They blister, they dry, they're ugly. But they're my feet -- they're what I have and so we co-exist -- sometimes, not gracefully (well, they were NEVER graceful), but in uneasy alliance in this job of getting about life!

Marcie said...

What an inspiring post..and such an excellent reminder to be good to our feet!!!

Terresa said...

Lovely feet you have. This is a great reminder to be grateful and flourish with whatever we have been blessed with or without.

PS: Your "The hard boiled egg" poem is excellent. Where are you published?

Anna said...

Ruth you know this is excellent post, and excellent reminder. You have done amazing job describing different aspects of feet. Every day we walk, and we don't realize, but they do work hard all our lives carrying us around. Thanks for the great post Ruth again. Anna :)

Ruth said...

Ouch, Jeanie. I know that sometimes I take my pain-free feet for granted. I should do a head-to-toe gratitude meditation at least once a day, even when there is pain somewhere.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Marcie.

Ruth said...

Terresa, thank you. Oh and thanks about the poem. I am published a couple of times in our University's student-run journal, The Red Cedar Review. I confess I haven't submitted much.

Ruth said...

Hi, Anna, they are odd, our feet, if you stop and look at them. But they are more amazing, extraordinary, remarkable, phenomenal - if you really think about them. Their design is ingenious and startling.

dutchbaby said...

Oh dear, I know I left a comment here last week but it vanished into the ether. I must have flunked my wordver test. Let me see if I can reconstruct my comment.

You have beautiful, well-formed, feet. You obviously treat them well. My husband has perfect feet too. Sometimes I like to stare at them in wonder.

I have assaulted my feet so many times in my life. It started in college when I worked in a can factory one summer. Shuffling back and forth all day long will create havoc with your feet. I used to hear the veteran assembly line workers talk about their foot surgeries during break time.

Then after college, my best friend and I used to go dancing in high heels two to three nights a week. Sometimes, salsa, sometimes disco, and then there was the French bistro that featured a local Brazilian band. Twenty-seven years of high-heeled pumps in corporate jobs didn't help my feet either.

I continue to ask so much of my feet. I'm back to shuffling back and forth as I make floral creations. I demand they carry me around the globe through many adventures. I hope they hold out for many more years.

Thank you for this post; for reminding me that I need to respect and appreciate my feet.

Dee Dee said...

Oh I can't believe I miss this post until now....facebook error!
You know this is so dear and near to me, I just had to post a comment even if it's late.
Thank you for your homage to feet. Practicing and teaching reflexology has been enlighting and rewarding for me, and having a husband whoes specialty is the Medicine of the foot is especially validating. Thanks so much for the post Ruthie, you are entitle to a reflexology session any time. Dee Dee

shoreacres said...

My dear, dear feet - happy with me for twenty years now since I freed them from their bonds. No more high heels ~ only a wardrobe of boat shoes, sandals and yes, a pair or two of dressy flats for occasions when I "must".

But my feet - they're my sensors, my tell-alls. Some people say they have eyes in the back of their heads. I have "eyes" on the bottom of my feet.

I'm so often barefooted at work, you see. When the dock gets too hot for bare feet, summer has arrived. When I feel the need for shoes and then socks, winter has come. If the humidity is going to turn to fog, I feel it first in the slickness of the fiberglass.

Feet are strong, and feet carry loads, but feet have a sensitive side, too! :-)

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, oh too bad about your comment. That is maddening!

Wow, your poor feet! They are amazing mechanisms, so responsive, sensitive, tough, just beautiful.

Ruth said...

Dee Dee, my love, no, I didn't post it on FB, because I was feeling guilty that I was only posting sync posts and not visiting anyone. :( But I will again, just so you will know.

Sweetie, you and Joe are quite a team. What you do with your hands on my feet is pure heaven. It's more than just the physical touch of your loving hands. It's your spirit and heart that come right through your fingers, as was always true even when you first showed me your gorgeous Thai dance - with the hands held just so. Such beautiful hands you have, I could write a post about them.

Ruth said...

Linda, now you've given me another reason to envy you your job - barefootness. And I see that you absorb some of your environmental sensitivity through your feet - who knew?

I usually hang the laundry barefoot. I remember when my niece brought her family from Florida, and she told her daughters to take their shoes off and feel the grass. They looked at her like she was possessed. She said, no really, it's soft! They couldn't believe Michigan grass as they squished their toes in it: Florida grass is hard and sharp - maybe Texas grass too?

Kate Campbell said...

Yoga practice yesterday made me think about my recent blog post at kate-campbell.blogspot.com on the strength and beauty of Mikhail Baryshnikov's feet. My own pedals are calloused and uneven, making balance poses like tree hard to maintain. Timber!