I run barefoot in spring
not because of need but because of desire
splash in roadside puddles, feel mud ooze up through toes
Feet feeling winter retreat deep
into the earth, hiding, regrouping.
My feet drum the mating call of spring.

I run barefoot in summer
run barefoot until calluses no longer wince at each stone, skirt each thistle
run feeling warmth of freshly turned garden soil, rooting worms with toes
burrowing deep until tiny tendrils of new forming carrots curl around.
When Sun scorches Earth’s moistness I run cool rhubarb patches seeking shady Solace.
Run pastures where rustling grass signals snakes and cows chew cuds, where bees barter nectar for pollen with bluebells and buttercups, vetch and cowslips

I run barefoot in fall
when stubbled fields sharpened by cooling nights stab at my soles
soles callused to their barb
run in woods high with cranberries signaling pregnancy
run, tilted skyward, to beating rhythms of geese departures
Leaves, narcisstic in their vibrancy, shiver reluctance to fall to decay
I crunch and squish in their dying

I read the seasons with my feet
My feet shuffle the dance of winter
Manacled muffled
no longer sensitive to changing earth
a tentative soft shoe dance
on land waxed slick with ice and snow
They wait
wait until snow slushes
wait until sap rises reluctantly
stamp their impatience
for trees and buds and hope to preen
for spring.

Feet free of manacles leave

footsteps in the land

~ Marion Brooker

Marion Brooker wrote for youth for many years through Educational Radio. In her recent book for young readers, Noreen and The Amazing No-Good Horse, Marion enjoyed reliving experiences of her childhood growing up on a farm in southern Manitoba. At present she is working on a creative non-fiction book based on letters home from her 17 year old uncle who was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Marion lives in Edmonton with her husband, happily surrounded by family, grandchildren and their pets.

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