more than one voice

Thursday, February 16, 2012


One of the things I love about living in South Africa is that I can go barefoot almost year round.  Shoes constrict my feet, and I never seem to find shoes that are comfortable no matter what type of shoes I buy, and I have very normal feet.  The feeling of the hard ground under my feet, the connection to the earth, the way I can stretch out my toes, is one of the small luxuries of life.

I’m lucky that I work in a fairly relaxed environment and can walk around with no shoes on if I wish. We have a young Italian researcher working with us and even she has kick-off her shoes.

When my sister and I were kids we visited our family in the UK and got into big trouble when we ran outside to play in the snow – you guessed it without shoes.  In our defense it was the first time we had ever seen snow.

South African history is full of stories of barefoot people. At the top of the Voortrekker Pass, there is a monument to a woman who walked barefoot over the Drakensberg.  After the Voortrekkers entered Natal, which was then a British Colony a number of trekkers decided to return to the Free State.  Susanna Smit declared that she would rather walk barefoot back over the Berg than live in Natal under British rule; she then proceeded to do just that.

I was intrigued to see that there is a society for barefoot living –I love their slogan – set your feet free and your mind will follow. To that I can say a big yes, when those shoes come off; my mind and heart are set free. There is absolutely no way I could never paint with shoes no!
I'll take my freedom where ever I can find it, she said with a little twinkle in her eye


  1. Love this post...I got married barefoot on the beach in Maui, Hawaii. Hearing the ocean waves, as we took our vows and standing on the warm sand with my love was heaven! Don't forget, your link is up over at!

  2. my husband and i are barefoot people also, i so understand this. i even had a tear or more reading your words, special clare. BEAUTIFUL post of such wonderful words. and your angel is BEYOND, saying just what you said and feel. love to you on this thursday. xo

  3. You are so right....when I worked as a massage therapist...we would lament that we weren't allowed to take our shoes off when we were doing bodywork. Everything felt more organic and natural without shoes!

    My In Laws have just left for a 3 week vacation to South Africa. I can't wait to hear the stories and see the pictures of the wonderful time I'm sure they'll have there :D

    Love the pensive, sweet expression of your girlie!

  4. Such a sweet angel - pure dearness and kindness!
    Love your post Clare - even so I am not a bare-footer! :-)

  5. you are such a beautiful soul! i love feeling the earth, wet grass, sand under my feet too. Can’t always do that in the city though but whenever i can... shoes off! love your freedom angel,
    xo sandra

  6. Enjoyed your post today Clare, and adore your angel.

  7. Beautiful post, I don't comment often but had to today. I love the feel of the earth under my feet and you just can't feel it through shoes! Sand happens to be my favorite but i've been known to jump in mud and squish it between my toes.

  8. Lovely twinkle-in-her-eye painting! She looks so carefree and happy. I live in the UK and I went barefoot on a beach at the end of November, the weather's been so mild here this winter. I felt so lucky to be able to do that!
    Jess xx

  9. I quite agree with the feeling of freedom that goes along with being barefoot. And I'm intrigued with the lady that walked backwards. What cool history! I'm enjoying your girl with the twinkle in her eye, her wings are beautiful!

    And about painting, yes, it's such a joy! When people tell me they wish they could, I always respond with,"You can!"
    Catherine Denton

  10. This is gorgeous Clare. I am a bare foot girl too.

    Who invented shoes, they are ridiculous! Feet are so clever when they don't have shoes on.

    Yes, maybe in the snow, one would need some-kind of shoe. I suppose....

  11. Living in England, I don't have the luxury of going bare foot much but I do like walking around in socks!

  12. I had NO idea you lived in in the world did I miss that? LOL. YES! Barefoot...especially when the pavement is toasty and my feet are very cold from being in the air conditioning. My sister and I have a saying when we want to say we love each other...we say "you have beautiful feet". : )

    You painting is super sweet Clare. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and you get to go barefoot a lot.

  13. Another gorgeous beauty! Lovely to see your feet too :)

  14. Hi Clare - love your post and your beautiful freedom angel! My other half walks around most of the time in the house barefoot and I don't know how he does it, and he always gets splinters in his feet from the wooden floorboards! I really like the slogan set your feet free and your mind will follow - I could do with some of that! x I'm going to google the barefoot living society :o) x

  15. Clare - if you are on facebook, the society for barefoot living have a f/b page -

  16. So good to come back to your site and see all the going on's. Love your bookstore looks really nice. You've been very busy!
    I too love to go barefoot, always kicking off my shoes wherever. As a child I never wanted to wear shoes either. These days though I am wearing socks, don't like the feel so much but my feet are ice cold all winter. As soon as spring hits my shoes are gone again.
    Congratulation's on your promotion at work and all of the sales of your artwork. You surely deserve are quite gifted!

  17. I love being barefoot too! It really is freedom, free in your own skin. I love the history you shared of Africa and the sculpture. I also feel grounded to nature, to the soul of nature and her creative spirit.


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