Toes. People seem to either love them or hate them. People wonder what the purpose of toes are. They are perplexed that there are five separate toes. In our shoe wearing culture, it’s no wonder that the idea of five toes is strange to people. Some say they are just to give us balance, and I agree, but what if there is more to it than that?
After several years of either going barefoot or wearing sandals (with the exception of snow days) I expected that my toes would spread out after being crammed into narrow shoes most of my life. My toes have spread significantly, however, something else has happened that I didn’t expect. My toes are waking up as individual parts more like my fingers and less like a lump of toes. It started with picking up small objects with my toes. I thought it was silly so I started picking up my kids toys with my toes and trying to do things like dropping marbles into different holes. Doing little things with my toes is starting to feel more “normal” (for lack of a better word). The other day I was cutting a board but it was moving around so it put my foot on it to hold it in place. There is nothing abnormal about that, but when I was done, I glanced at my foot and realized that I wasn’t just putting pressure on the board with my foot, I was actually holding it in place with my toes much like you would do with your hand. I didn’t do it consciously! In fact I was rather surprised and amused that I was doing it.
I’ve been called out for wearing sandals in “unsafe” situations like running a saw, hunting, helping the neighbors move, etc. Maybe it’s rightfully so, but I’ll tell you that when you don’t wear shoes all day you become hyper aware of your feet. When I drop something, my feet move out of the way before I even consciously realize what is happening. I do often have nicks and dings on my feet but they usually happen when I’m not being mindful (or stupid) like going down my stairs at night without the lights on and finding toys that were not put away! :)
Do you know what your toes are capable of? Maybe our toes are capable of so much more than we use them for. Maybe it is time that we start actually valuing our funny little phalanges and take better care of them. I don’t mean that we need to hide them and lock them away from any chance of danger. I mean we should use them, develop them, and stop being afraid of them.