It began as a painful ordeal
Treading upon the thorns 
Steps were slow 
Terrain was jagged
Mind was troubled
Flesh was torn
I shed the shoes which covered my feet
I had worn them since my birth
I knew I’d encounter pain,
But that was a cheap price to pay
To finally feel the earth
As I roamed
My soles were strengthened
And boldly I began to tread
To discern a path
To see sunlight ahead
Now, I stand
Sole-baring, crushing the foes
I run, I bleed
But along the path
Fragrant flowers grow
I inhale, stooping low
Berries are scattered among the thicket
I reach through to fill my jar
This has happened again and again
To reach the fruit, I’m left with scars
“Keeping going,” says a voice
“Your days are not done.
Keep smelling the blossoms,
Tasting the fruit,
Feel the earth –
Being warmed by the sun.”
I feel the pain, but know the goal
I’m alive, a traveler be 
Although I’m scarred, I am whole
One day, I’ll reach my reverie
A bird alights on my shoulder
Sings a joyful tune
A fawn is snuggled in thick cover
And my travel-weary toes 
Are tickled by a delicate bloom
If I never took off my shoes,
What would I know?
Barefoot in the briar patch –
Lessons penetrating sole to soul