Bare Feet and the Power of Expression

Noa - Evanston, Illinois
Entered on January 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in bare feet, and the power of true moments of expression.

I remember my happiness as a 4-year-old girl who could turn up the music, tear off my socks and dance as if gracefulness was my second mother, teaching me expression through movement, and freedom my father, forever forcing me to let go and speak with my bare feet.

I also remember the Indian musicians, performing in Mysore, who plucked each note and hit each beat on their drums with both consistency and passion. Even as the electricity went out and they could only be guided by their inner rhythm, they continued to express themselves through drumbeats and tabla twangs. This they did despite the chaos outside, as the cars beeped and people yelled, and as the strong smells of incense thickened the air until it was hard for the street vendors to breathe.

And I remember the English actor’s intense eyes as he fell into role on the stage in London. His energy consuming the audience and his old personality left on the floor as he was gathered up by the stage. Enthusiasm radiated from him as he spoke to the other actors and actresses, and they became intertwined with his fervor.

These figures are called to mind when I think of expression and letting loose. They represent the people who have torn off their layers and become bare feet, that have put aside the noise and slabs of color, and fallen into moments, moments of hesitation and moments where their inner senses burst into the air and evaporate among us.

I believe that beauty is created by those moments of hesitation, where expression climaxes and hangs in the air for barely a second. Those hanging moments, which are brought about by different events or actions for each person, sometimes intentionally and sometimes completely unexpectedly.

There’s the moment when a dancer balances and her fingers hesitate for a second before she steps on. And the time when a musician holds a note for a second and a tone unlike the rest of the piece can be heard. There’s the second where an artist draws color onto an image that is almost finished. And there’s the second where a writer inhales after writing the last phrase of a poem.

If everyone–each town, each community, each city, each neighborhood–if everyone succumbed to their own bare feet and listened while running to the beach, their bare feet engulfed by the sand within, if everyone ran in the cool evening air as the stars began to sparkle, and the warm wind began to hum, then the night would be calmed by the dancers, and reassured by the singers, hushed by the painters, and fascinated by the writers, then there would be one moment of hesitation when each individual’s expression arrived at a peak, at a step, a tone, a color, a word, and the night would for a moment be beautiful. This I believe.