I don’t know why self-portraits focus almost exclusively on one’s face given the fact that you can typically learn so much more about a person by looking at their other parts. When I saw The Hours and was initially skeptical about Nicole Kidman playing the part of Virginia Woolf, what won me over wasn’t the much-hyped prosthetic nose that Kidman donned: it was the fact that in various scenes of Woolf smoking cigarettes, Kidman had ink-stained fingers. Of course Woolf would have had ink on her fingers: she was a writer in an era of fountain pens. Show me a delicate, fine-boned, but stained hand, and I’ll show you a writer, down and dirty.
It’s not like I like having dirty feet…but I love being barefoot, wearing sandals, and hiking. When I was in college, I sometimes hiked barefoot, believing along with crazy old Ivar, the Norwegian hermit in Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!, that feet are a body part immune to sin and thus safe to indulge in sensuous and sometimes dirty delights. When I spent a week hiking in California’s Marin County several years ago, I took only one pair of shoes: a pair of generic sport sandals which I literally walked to pieces, coming home with distinct tan-lines where the straps had been. These days, I’ve acquired more expensive tastes in sandals, wearing my Keen Montereys so often I’m acquiring a fisherman’s tan with square patches of brown on my insteps and walking right through mud puddles and streams when I hike in my Keen Newport H2s.
So, there you have it. I’m a girl who likes expensive shoes as long as they, like me, aren’t afraid of a little mud and muck. When people say I’m “grounded” and “down to earth,” they sometimes don’t realize that those qualities go down to my toes.
- Although it may be true that the devil wears Prada, the Zen Mama wears Keens: when I’m not wearing either of my two pairs of outdoorsy sandals, I’m stomping around in a pair of Bronx. Yes, it’s keen to wear Keens in Keene…and when you’re a sometimes-klutzy Zen Mama, it’s cool to wear shoes and sandals with a sturdy rubber toeguard.
This is my sixth submission for the current self-portrait marathon. You can see my previous attempts here, here, here, here, and here; a gallery of other self-portraits here; and a slide-show of participant portraits here.