My feet are tough and strong. The callused soles barely register pain when I dash across the mulch to rescue my toddler from the top of a hot slide. They carry me sixty miles a week, through the streets of my city and up and down the canyon paths near my home. I have great feet.
But when I sit down on the couch at night, and prop them up on my daughter’s lap, she pushes them off. “They’re so gross! Get them away from me.” And it’s true, even if I got regular pedicures, my feet would still be veiny and ropy, callused from where my running shoes rub, with toenails in various stages of regrowth. They are not pretty feet, but until I see them in side-by-side comparison with my daughters’ little girl feet, I think they look pretty fantastic.
When I was a girl, I was repelled by my grandma’s feet. She had worked as a nurse back in the days when nurses wore high heels for twelve-hour shifts, and her toes were gnarled and bent, her toenails yellow. Back in those days, I’d shudder as I looked from my smooth, perfect child’s feet to hers.
We prize the smoothness of young skin, the innocence of young experience, but our essay and poem in this month’s issue of Segullah challenge our conceptions of youth. In “We’re All a Little Broken,” essayist Kelsey Peterson writes about the collapse of her new marriage, and returning home, at the age of twenty-three, to retreat and rebuild her life, only to walk in the door and learn that her mother has cancer. Both women are, by our standards, too young to be going through these experiences, and Peterson is honest about the scars they bear on the other side.
But the scars, the sag, the age spots, the years of shared experience and the missing toenails are precisely what makes love so precious in Julie Nelson’s poem “Figs,” which highlights the fact that some fruits just aren’t ready to be plucked when they’re young and green and new, and that it’s age, and wrinkles, that bring out the sweetness.
Here at Segullah, we hope that you enjoy your summer, and that you find appreciation for whatever stage of life you may be in, even if it means that your feet are not as pretty as they once were.
Shelah Mastny Miner
Coming soon: archived content from the Spring/Summer 2012 issue
February 2014, no issue
April 2013 – Special Issue: 2013 Contest Winners
March 2013 – Special Issue: Mormonism and Disability
Featured Artist: Annie Henrie
Segullah Volume 9 Spring/Summer 2012
“Justice and Mercy”
Featured Artist: Amanda M. Smith
Featured artist: Cindy Ferguson
“Inside and Outside Marriage”
Featured artist: Maralise Petersen
Featured artist: Rebecca Wetzel Wagstaff
“Gifts of the Spirit”
Featured artist: Leslie Graff
Featured artist: Lee Bennion
“Palette of Light”
Featured artist: Sharon Furner
“Roots and Branches”
Featured artist: Mandi Mauldin Felici
Featured artist: Jacqui Larsen
Featured artist: Jamie Wayman
“Cleave Unto Charity”
Featured artist: Rose Datoc Dall
“Women Proclaiming the Gospel”
“Corridors of Change”
Featured artist: Claire Ferguson
“The Measure of Creation”
Cover art by Victoria Holt