Ok, I’m not talking about the shoes that a prima ballerina would perform in, I’m referring to the five fingered shoes by Vibram. To me, they are more like toe shoes than what ballerinas wear, since my toes are now free to grasp the world around me. I’ve been intrigued by this footwear ever since one of my yoga teachers mentioned that walking with them on was a sensual experience.
When I’m walking in the forest around my place in Pine, I’m always gazing at the wondrous textures that I see on the ground beneath me. Recently, I’ve felt that I really should look up more often so as to not run into some unsuspecting critter.
The five fingered shoes have taken some getting used to. For the first week or so, I experienced a fair amount of pain in my hips and hamstrings. Now that I’ve been wearing them for more than a month, my body has become accustomed to them, and I’m able to enjoy feeling the textures of nature with my feet almost as much as I delight in seeing them through my eyes.
While hiking up towards Mt. Rosalie from highway 285 a couple weekends ago, I came upon a gathering of bristlecone pines, which stood guard over the windy, high alpine terrain. I had learned that these trees are counted as some of the oldest living organisms on earth!
The beauty of these trees in their live form and fallen entranced me. I could have stayed up there for hours climbing on their grand trunks, and bearing witness to their delightful patterns, colors and textures.
Having been exposed to the wind and elements for hundreds of years these trees were transformed into monuments of nature’s cleansing and destructive forces. Their surfaces were buffed and sculpted by the elements with the mastery of a fine wood worker.
One of my favorite design projects is when I made a toy for a baby shower gift for some dear friends.
They had the wisdom and creativity to request that each guest create a gift out of recycled items. I knew I wanted to make a toy and that I had a wool sweater that I had felted to make the fibers merge into a thick pile, and that the color of this sweater was a wonderful, fun purple.
I started by cutting off a sleeve of the shrunk-down sweater, and I stuffed it with some old rags. I propped it up and folded and pinched the top, until I discovered that by doing so, I created some cat ears, so at that point I set out to create a cat. Then I came upon some old rag wool socks and started to put parts of the sock onto the purple form, and by trying on various pieces of sock I created an outfit and legs and arms for my woolen feline. Designing in the “cute-factor” was another delightful part of this project – keeping within the recycled idea, I put beans on the bottom of the feet so they’d have weight to hang off of a shelf. It was definitely by trial and error that I discovered what makes cute features as opposed to just descriptive one. A sweater is cute on a cat, but a sweater that is too short and allows a belly button to peek through definitely has a higher “cute-factor”.
I had trouble letting go of my toy cat, but found solace in the hope that its recipients would enjoy owning him or her as much as I delighted in its creation.
As a wonderful adventure for me, and a harrowing experience for my friends and family – I was staying on the coast of Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit in 2004.
I came upon a photo of myself “vogueing” while sporting table cloths from the resort where we were staying.
When the tsunami hit, I was in my room in my bikini, putting on sunscreen to prepare for a day at the beach. When I looked out the window to the ocean, that was supposed to be about 10 feet below me and about 20 feet away – suddenly, it was right at my window! By the time I arrived at the door to leave, there was 8 inches of water in my room – and I could hear a snap where the ocean pushed in on the outer wall of my room.
I walked out of my room with only a visor and bathing suit on. I did end up reclaiming some of my clothing, but everything was drenched by the Indian Ocean. For the rest of that first day, table cloths were the only thing I had to shield myself from the sun. Over the next few days, my chore was to try to convince my clothing to dry in the humid, tropical climate.
We were lucky to have not witnessed any human death – only destroyed property. Unfortunately, my friends and family at home had to view all the death and destruction on CNN, and they didn’t know if I was dead or alive for 3 days!