“Best of…” 2006-c

From: B. D.

Subject: Beautiful Mid-winter Hike

Date: Feb 2006


Most of my winter barefooting has been pretty mundane . . . to and from the car, out to fill bird feeders, minor trips to the store, post office, etc. Even when it’s been warm enough to take an extended walk, I’ve been on pavement.

Yesterday, finally, I was able to take a lunch time hike in the town park in North Manchester, Indiana, where I work. I haven’t been in the park since we had the terrible cold and snow of December.

First and foremost, and non-barefoot-related, was the fact that I saw a Cooper’s Hawk, just sitting on a branch about two feet off the ground in the woods in the park. These are beautiful birds, with slate grey backs and fine tan and white markings on the breast that look like a ruffled shirt. He was just sitting there, watching me. I walked all around him (from about 20 feet’s distance). Cooper’s Hawks were common at one time and are rare (but not endangered) here in the Midwest. I suspect he was looking for mice or sparrows – not for a barefoot man!

The trails were carpeted with leaves from last autumn and the barren trees made it seem like the woods were much wider than they seem other times of the year. The parks department uses a very rough mulch on the trails that I had a hard time getting used to when I first walked on them barefooted last summer. But now they felt like carpet.

My bare feet enjoyed the mix of mushy wet ground in some of the areas that are less grassy. The soccer fields were grassy and moist and cool. On the edge fo the woods, some of the ground was still frozen and frosty.

It was a great barefoot day . . . hawk and all 🙂