I’ve come to appreciate dirty feet. Strange. Indeed.
India refused to permit me pure, untainted toes and soles. Never could a bucket shower manage to cleanse the remnants of winding stone and dirt paths. Paths that had been carved from the back of Himalaya, been trekked upon by thousands of feet before mine. The history of foot paths. Stories of all before, and all to come. Dirty feet no longer defined as unclean, but proud symbols of each step taken. Though footprints runaway with wind and water, never does a foot forget the journey.
My heels are hardened from years of flip flops. How naked and vulnerable a foot can be, but it adapts to its surroundings. No matter if I step fifty paces in a day, each will be adorned with a fresh dusting. Last night, in denial of an empty ink cartridge’s state, I shook photo black noir hoping to jostle enough ink to finish a print. Not only was it unsuccessful, but tiny droplets of black ink sprinkled the carpet. Oblivious to that fact, I walked across the carpet several times before sensing a mild damp feeling. Little black dots stained my feet for the night. I had no urge to wash away the absurdity of ink on feet.
I think it strange that often dirty feet mean unclean. I’ve read religious texts where feet are used for metaphors for a person’s social status, the bottom of the body, how it is of the earth. Nothing else would I prefer but to be of the earth, be a part of something so real, rather than lay fat and idle on a cloud.
Dirty can be lovely. Forever it will remind me of the paths taken, by me and strangers alike.