The energy healer said my head was leaking. Too much energy escaping out of my skull into the heavens, too little being absorbed from the earth into my feet. My soles were not doing their part to keep my soul in-house.

To ground myself, the energy healer prescribed a daily ten-minute stroll through my yard, barefoot.

If God had intended us to go barefoot, S/He would not have planted a Designer Shoe Warehouse across the street from the Garden of Eden.

I was trapped, because a follow-up appointment loomed, and lying wasn’t going to work. Just by glancing at the air behind your elbow, an energy healer can tell whether you’ve been good or bad.

Recent storms had turned the front yard into a pig wallow. My naked toes would never survive. I didn’t think it would be cheating to use the patio instead. Would it? Concrete equaled gravel plus cement. Gravel equaled smashed rocks. Rocks equaled ground.

I creaked open the back door. Chilly air brushed my cheek. Hey, pretty nice. Not so fast. The air was clean, but the patio was a mess. The rains had strewn nature trash across the concrete. Leaves, twigs, helicopters, worms. And millions of pea-looking things rolling around. There was also overhead danger. Our birch tree’d had a growth spurt, branches spread over half the patio, like an umbrella.

I stepped onto the concrete, one foot outside, the other inside. Cold, clammy, oh gawd, squishy. What the hell could be squishy? Best to remain ignorant. I took a baby step. Right into a puddle. No, no, no. Really, really cold. How can water be so wet? I’m okay. It’s just water. I shook my paw. Another baby step. A helicopter stuck to my foot. I peeled it off, leaving behind a fossil imprint on my skin. Twigs to the right of me, peas to the left, helicopters everywhere. At least they were dry. The twigs poked. Ow ow ow. They crunched. Another little puddle. Something slithery. Oh gawd, oh gawd, oh gawd.

Was grounded supposed to feel like this?  

I looked up to avoid the birch tree’s low-hanging branches, where leeches were waiting to drop down my shirt. Pop. A pea. Eeeww. Gross, gross, gross. I curled my feet so only toe tips and heels were making contact with the surface, then hopped over to a postage-stamp-sized sunny spot. An island of blessed dryness. Thank you. The begonia in the corner had filled out beautifully since—what the? Son-of-a-hoot-owl! Peas were rolling at me from every direction. They were closing in. I had to make a run for it back to the house. Crunch. Pop. Squish. Pop. Slurp. Pop. Squish.

I dove through the doorway, crash landed in the family room, and slammed the door. Peas piled up against it.

Lying on the floor, I slapped my feet to shake off the debris. Oh no! Was that a slug? I did not want to know. I stuck a kitchen towel in the microwave, then wrapped it around my embattled tootsies. After warmth seeped in, I headed for my closet.

I pulled my lovelies down from the shelves. All of them. Surrounded myself. Mary-Janes. Booties. Sneakers. Ballet flats. Hikers. Sandals. Clogs. Boots. Slippers. Ahhh. Grounded

Dawn Downey

Dawn Downey writes to incite compassion. Whether she’s challenged by Mother Nature or the nature of her wild mind, she hopes readers will recognize themselves in her stories—and then lovingly accept their own wild minds. Downey is the author of Blindsided: Essays from the Only Black Woman in the Room; Searching for My Heart: Essays about Love; From Dawn to Daylight: Essays; and Stumbling Toward the Buddha: Stories about Tripping over My Principles on the Road to Transformation. Learn more at