When he’s cold it’s like stepping on ice. The numbness spreads from my feet to my ankles. I walk with frigidity as the breeze stiffens my bones. I am stuck, frosty and unfeeling, on his glacial surface.
When he’s hot he’s a stove on the highest setting. Heat radiates from his unforgiving face. He burns all barefooted soles as they tread on this desolate fry pan. This pain causes knee jerk reactions as travellers try to tread lightly.
When it rains, he becomes the ocean floor. Cracks, ditches and blemishes now fill with water. Soggy feet tramp uncomfortably over his surface, these are hurrying home. But for freer adventurers, puddles mean bare feet and splashing and laughter. Then, for once, he is happy with his imperfect face, joyful that it brings joy.
When the weather is warm but not hot, when there’s a breeze but no chill, with the clouds in the sky but no rain in the air, then, our feet are companions, journeying over his surface. Though sometimes he’s hidden by gum nuts and leaves, he remains a solid floor.
As time goes on bare feet become like him, thick skinned and hard, prepared for all weathers. He has taught us survival, through the pain and the puddles we became strong.