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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: Tiger's Root

Tiger's Root

There is a little tiger inside me. It must have been a really bad tiger in its previous life, because for a tiger to be reincarnated as a mathematician - that must be some kind of ultimate humiliation. Maybe it was pushing less affluent tigers into subprime lairs, or maybe it ate one Indian villager too many. Who knows. But now it dwells inside me. Most of the time it sleeps soundly behind my spleen, but the moment I take off my shoes it wakes up. It twitches its ears, growls in disbelief, sniffs around a bit and starts pacing up and down in expectation. I can feel it. Whenever I go barefoot, an invisible spark of feline instincts shoots through my spine. Echos of long forgotten animal spirits start reverberating in my skull. I have to touch my cheeks to make sure I haven't grown whiskers.

The first time I noticed it was in High School. We were on a field trip and playing volleyball on a grass court in front of some old gym. I was never particularly fond of this sport, but this time I took off my shoes and whoa - what a difference it made! First thing I noticed that my natural leapiness had increased at least threefold. I was jumping around the net like a kangaroo on a sugar diet. My memories of that game are so vivid that I still remember the shape of the court, the scaly gray wall behind it or the juicy tone of its green surface lit by a street lamp. I became an animal hopping and bouncing and hitting the ball from all possible angles, including from above.

Being barefoot confers certain freedoms. It is liberating. Take off your shoes and walk across a lawn if you don't believe me. It's like getting an extra sense rendered through our soles. It brings certain metaphysical grounding to our being. As if we have reconnected to this Earth through a root system and gained some of its energy straight from the soil. Much like trees and plants and grasses and everything else that grows from it.



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