Fat, big toes, nails trimmed short. They began to grow hair at a too-tender age. I took them for granted, disparaged them often and failed to realize their importance. Attached to my feet, I’d learned somewhere to revile them as ugly. Broad, wide feet with narrow heels- what a firm understanding for a tall, ample soul whose life often rode a chaotic roller coaster
Do I remember the white lace and leather of toddler steps or simply have the illusion from photos or a bronzed shoe remembrance? Toes gripped the road as I learned to run and to jump. They explored the bottom of the swimming pool and the warm earth in the garden and massaged and caressed the fleece of my bedding waiting for sleep to finally arrive.
My toes didn’t know the glamour of polish and color. They were more interested in plowing up a stone or stick from the ground. Fashion eventually became more important than my forgotten toes. Variety and misplaced values crammed them into too small shoes for years causing the early stages of ancient binding. Skin chafed, blistered and ultimately calloused evolved into crunched, misshapen, accordion digits with hammer like endings.
Abandoning fashion, high heels, and the desire to be a size and shape that is not me have freed my sweet toes. The hairy, the twisted, those with bunions and corns, even the weird piggies with only tiny canoes of a nail are held in new found regard. I relish and love my toes as they sprawl and stretch, reach and grab, and propel me forward. In my acceptance and appreciation they are now often decorated in color and an occasional decal. One bold toe even flaunts a ring. Ten toes. Ten blessed tips touching the earth.