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Going shoeless

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This summer has been unlike any other summer. Thanks to caring full time for baby F, my schedule is pretty flexible. It’s been almost a decade since my family sold their cottage in Muskoka, but I find myself freshly missing it. I romanticize it – boiled hotdogs on the front patio, squatting to pee behind trees as a kid. Building things out of moldy wooden planks leftover from a building project in the seventies. That vertical beam that held the heights and names of all my aunts and uncles and cousins. That beam was a piece of family history. An orphaned piece. Driftwood.

We are taking our first family vacation this Fall. And I wondered to myself whether I should buy water shoes for baby F. Who doesn’t walk. Who stands occasionally. Then I caught myself. What am I thinking? Real old school cottagers understand that shoes are optional. Putting on shoes to go anywhere but into town is, well, a bit tame for the wild North. I’ve noticed the skin on my feet tells this story. What should one expect after spending weeks on end just plain shoeless in the woods? All those pine needles and sharp rocks and sticks. But, oh those soft wet mossy cushions! And the heavy sand at the shore!

Running around like a wild animal. Developing accidental grit.

No, I will not buy water shoes for baby F. Even if there is no more family cottage, she will have her share of shoeless moments.

After watching this documentary, I think Tony Robbins is a phenomenon. He’s really floating my boat this week. Him and Oprah. Seriously, these guys are just full of great messages for humanity. They remind us to take all of the wonder that we are – our pasts and presents in all their skin wrecking, family and nature treasuring glory – and own it.

Own your wonder. Without clinging to the driftwood, without questioning other people’s choices, without doubting the rightness of how we got here.

Just throw off your shoes, face forward and smell the fresh air!


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