One of my new favorite things is walking barefoot on these beautiful islands.  Big surprise.  But not just the beaches, further inland as well.  We recently went to Îlet Pinel, a small island just off the northeast end of St. Martin.  We spent a coule days there.  One evening, I went on a hike by myself.

I brought shoes but preferred not to use them.  Even though it was a little rocky, I like the way the warm grass and dirt feel under my feet.  There’s something soothing and simple about it.  I’m walking down a well worn path, tan grass a foot or so high waving back and forth, rustling in the steady wind coming from the East.  And I can feel everything happening beneath my feet.  For one rocky part I put on my shoes, and there are times when that’s the safe, right thing to do.  But once I was through it, I took my shoes off again.  There’s something I prefer about not being insulated from what’s happening around me.  Sometimes I think we overprotect ourselves. 

I walked all the way to the top of Îlet Pinel holding my shoes in my hand.  I had the walk gingerly in some parts, because there were stones that hurt when stepped on.  But then I would come across hardened dirt and flat grass, and I could imagine a life where shoes didn’t entirely make sense. 

I got to the top of this modestly elevated island and took in the view: Tintamarre, Anguilla, St. Barts in the distance, the northern hills of St Martin, the ocean crashing on the rocks below.  I felt far away.  I felt like I saw the islands the way they were three or four hundred years ago.  All the rooftops and shuttle boats were hidden on the other side of the hill.  It was just me, the waving grass and the sea.  A lovely moment. 

I took a few pictures.  Looked around for one last look.  And started walking back, barefoot.