A bare-footed walk

by | Feb 24, 2013 | Uncategorized | 16 comments

 It’s going to be a scorcher again. I’ve headed out to the west coast, and am hoping I’ve set out early enough to miss the heat of the day. Come with me, take off your shoes, and let’s walk the coastal track. It begins through grazed land. The grass is already hot and dry, but here’s a bit of shade for us to cool our feet.

All this heat has baked the whau flowers into seed heads that will soon fly away in fluffy puffs.

 We are climbing the hillside now, and already can enjoy a view of the sea.

 We pass more seed heads, this time the cabbage trees whose flowering is over, except for a few plants on the shady side of the hill.

 The path is hot and sometimes stony, but the thing about being bare-foot is that we are in direct contact with the earth. We can feel how dry it is. It’s been weeks since the last rainfall.

 Let’s pause, because it’s hard work climbing the hill in the beating sun. The view of the sea is soothing and we wonder about a swim, but the tide is going out right now and we will have to walk over scorching sand. . . .

 Ah, but look at this, our favourite stretch of the path; the shady tunnel. We’ve done the hard uphill climb and now the path leads gently downwards. Through the soles of our feet we can feel the coolness, and also the softer earth surface.

And look, we can see the next bay already. That’s where we will end up. We will stop under a big pohutukawa tree on the hillside, eat some lunch, drink plenty of water, and cool off in the shade.
Then we will edge down the track, feeling how slippery it is. The earth almost has a patina on it, here on this side, and we have to hold on to flax leaves all the way so that we don’t go for a skid.
There at the bottom is a little shady haven where friends have a small cabin. We will stop and chat, have a cool drink, and hope that the sun has relented a little before our return.
Our feet rest on cool grass. They are thankful.
The camera battery ran out, but our feet don’t care. They have made friends with the earth once more, just as they did throughout childhood, and they are happy.


  1. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet .. stunning – just beautiful … empathetically written I can feel the walk with you … see those views ..

    Loved it – what a wonderful place for a walk … cheers Hilary

  2. Anne Ruffell

    You are happy and you have made me happy remembering the times we have made the same walk. The bliss of bare feet, the beauty of the views, the surprise of the secret chalet and the glass of cool wine,the Monarch butterflies, the sound of the sea, the twisted branches of the old pohutakawa – all etched into my heart as magical times. It is so refreshing to wake on this cold wintery English grey morn and have such uplifting memories and the pictures. Thank you for starting the day so well.

  3. Anne Ruffell

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Penny O'Neill

    My feel are happy now, Juliet, and so am I after such a walk with you. Thank you.

  5. Max

    What a lovely description juliet, a story through your feet! I love all the sensations of a barefoot walk-it really attenuates all the sights and smells x

  6. cecilia

    I LOVE going barefoot, The Matriarch is the same which is unusual for an american woman. i am so looking forward to that first day when i can touch the soil with my feet again. A lovely walk. Thank you Juliet! c

  7. MandaBurms

    Beautiful part of New Zealand. Being an earth lover my soles of my feet are often filthy SMILE.
    Love Leanne

  8. juliet

    * Hilary, so glad you could come along with me so fully.

    * Anne, I was thinking of you and the big surprise we had when doing this walk. You were very much in my thoughts at several points. So glad you could enter into the magic once more, in the cold of your winter.

    * Penny, you are so welcome.

    * Max, glad you enjoyed it.

    * Cecilia, you will be looking forward to when you can go barefooted again. Fancy the Matriarch also loving bare-footed walking. That’s so wonderful. Hope your earth warms up soon.

    * Leanne, I can just imagine you being barefooted on your lovely land. Yes, they do get dirty, but who cares!

    Thank you, all of you. It was a great surprise to open up my computer this morning and find that you had all taken the walk. Such a thrill to have your company.

  9. Vicki Lane

    What a pleasure to walk (vicariously) barefoot again! Growing up in Florida, I spent most of my summers barefoot and my soles were like leather. Here in the mountains of North Carolina, there are rocks everywhere .. no more bare feet.

  10. juliet

    * Hi Vicki, it’s so interesting to hear of your experiences with going barefoot in Florida. I can imagine that it would be a different story on your rocky mountain paths, yet isn’t it interesting how the feet adapt and toughen up?
    Thank you.

  11. Diana Drent

    I love walking barefoot in the summer. But if it is hot on the beach than I prefer to wear slippers.

    I enjoyed your story. It felt like I was walking beside you.

  12. Hotly Spiced

    What beautiful images. I love the scenery. I didn’t know you are having a heatwave – long may it last – winter will arrive before we know it xx

  13. Friko

    No scorchers here, so I have to warm myself on your walk.

    What beauties you encounter at every step.

  14. juliet

    * Diana, so glad you enjoyed the walk.

    * Charlie, we are all making the most of the warm days. Fortunately it’s crol at night, and the heat is not too bad (as long as we don’t walk in it around the middle of the day!)

    * Friko, glad you could enjoy our warmth.

    Thank you Diana, Charlie, and Friko. I do appreciate your comments.

  15. Lynley

    I loved your turn of phrase “go for a skid.” We used to say that as children and I have heard my children say it when they were young. Perhaps it is a Kiwi turn of phrase?

    My “kiwi” feet could feel your walk….could it be a sole/soul memory?? Lol.

    Your beach and environs are very beautiful.

  16. juliet

    * Lynley, I didn’t even notice the phrase as unusual – but then it’s been with me since childhood. Must be a kiwi expression. Glad your feet enjoyed the walk: sole-ful indeed! I am lucky to have such a beautiful place to visit.


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