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Ritual for Feet

How do you make one minute feel compelling? Complete? How do you craft a condensed beginning, middle, end? How do you show a passage of time? A transformation?

In the first weeks of the semester I started a practice of filming my feet walking the same path diagonally across my backyard toward an exposed root, past which my camera would sit. At the end of each walk I would stand, taking in the textures beneath my feet, interacting with the sensations those textures produced. I loved the practice of this. The ritual of it. I would watch the weather, responding to each slight change in weather with an iteration of my barefoot walk. Standing, feeling the grass and twigs under my toes. Surrounded by the orchestra of cicadas, crickets, birds, lawn mowers, airplanes, church bells, and rain. I enjoyed this process of grounding my feet, noticing the changing details of this one specific spot in my back yard. Greeting the caterpillars, ants, mushrooms, and leaves with curiosity and playfulness.

Photography by Mollie Wolf

For the film, I would have preferred to keep the aesthetic of my feet clean. However, for the first four weeks of this process I was healing from a sprained ankle, which as you will see, adds an additional element of passing time to the work. While I’m not a fan of their aesthetic, the changing braces are simply present to the states through which I was passing this semester. Returning to dancing after a long stay-at-home hiatus of not moving. The process of getting used to my body in motion again. The state of unfamiliarity with things that once felt familiar. The overeagerness of throwing myself into something I’ve been missing and suffering the consequences. The struggle to hold onto my vitality despite the changing, morphing, softening, maturing of my body and all the uncertainty that comes with it.

This year meditation has slowly become an anchoring practice for me. This ritual of return to this small spot in my back yard felt like this. An anchor to place. An anchor to action. An anchor to ritual. An acknowledgement of passing time, of constant change around me and within me.

Below is my practice over this semester condensed into one minute.

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