If toes are not for stretching, curling, reaching, digging, gripping, then I don’t know what they’re for.
If the tender stretch of sole—the part that scoops away from bone and lifts away from earth to catch our weight—is not for tickling and pressing firmly with a thumb or wrist, then perhaps I’ve missed the point.
I have trees for veins on the top side that I can trace from toe-tip through the ankle line. I lose them somewhere along the shin and then play a guessing game to wonder where they go. The wonderment includes curiosity of speed—how fast must that lazy blood be traveling up to the refuel center? How fast does it go once it’s taken in all its red? And how many times today has it traveled this exact trajectory to warm me and move me?
I have rock for bone that gets more nuanced by the layer—the amethyst center remaining unseen and untouched, but still loved all the same. And when these rocks puzzle themselves together—in accordance with a guide-book that I didn’t write—I begin to know my body as ankle, knee, hip, spine, shoulder, chin and skull.
And muscle becomes a powder-sugar dusting—coating the surface and creating beauty that is so soft and so thick that even God reveres it.
On my face I have shapes that were not given names. The Babylonians could not create a geometric set that did justice to the eyes or the space between the eyebrows that furrows with our worry. Our lips and teeth and every-changing color of our cheeks are far too magical to be pinned down to naming.
And in the DMV, for instance, or perhaps just in the grocery store, we look around and we see two-hundred sets of individually created toes and arches and trees and rocks and powdered sugar and face. And they look almost just like ours, but not quite.
And we stand and sometimes forget that besides our own, there are two-hundred other refuel centers across the room—beating, speeding, feeling, giving. The pumping maybe feels the same inside their chests, but we do not know, because we were only made to feel our own, and if we’re lucky, maybe a few other peoples’ in the course of our lifetime.
I can only know my own, but since I look out and see all these other trees and rocks and sugar-dustings, I know we must be similar. I know we must both feel sadness sometimes and joy other times. I know that our beating hearts have a repertoire of hundreds of feelings, and in the course of just one rotation on Earth’s axis, we must feel 74 of them.
So thank whoever put all these feelings into bodies that move—so that we may flail around and jump up high and cower low and collapse to ground. So that when our veins fill with peace, we feel it as the joints release and we become a pretty dangle. And when our veins fill with frustration, we feel it as we stomp around and throw our arms out and call it dance.
And sometimes our veins will fill with passion, and we will find another body who also fills with passion at the same time our body fills with passion, and when that happens, we will call it making love.
I will feel all of this and more, and learn that the point has never been to get rid of certain feelings, for each feeling is a gift, a specific and detailed expression of life that is for living, not for ridding.
Life is not the ticking of the wall-clock or the places we have to be tomorrow; life is in us, as us, emerging from us.
Life is my ability to call my vessels, trees; my ankles, rock; my face, a story without a name.
And I don’t know why I have all this, but I know that since I have it—I’ll dance.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise