The Summons of Spring


Edwin L. Sabin was a turn-of-the-century (early 1900s) newspaperman and writer, with his short stories and poems appearing in magazines of that period. An earlier entry highlighted his The Barefoot Trail.

I guess he was pretty enamored about the childhood freedom of going barefooted (something which has pretty much disappeared these days). Here is a short item of his, from the May, 1908 edition of Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine (p. 664):

        The Summons of Spring

        By Edwin L. Sabin

Some day it comes—the subtle announcement of the spring. We may not have responded to the first bluebird, the first robin, the first rain; none of these has appealed. But suddenly spring is thrilling within our soul. We want to go barefoot.

Children are going barefoot. Their feet and legs singularly white after the months of confinement, they are gleefully scampering upon the smooth, hard asphalt of the city’s pave, and, peeling shoes and stockings, are braving the policeman in the parks. And in the country—ah, in the country!

Here exists the real luxuriousness of barefoot state. Once discarded, shoes and stockings are not resumed again until frost. Small and soft are the feet exposed, say, along in April; small and soft and white and exceedingly tender. Every little pebble hurts, and one must tread gingerly, with sundry screwings of the features and many an “Ouch!”

There can be no offense more egregious than at this time to step with shod foot upon somebody’s naked toes. “Look out! Get off, darn you!”

Oh, the sensation of lightness and buoyancy which upbears one in accord with the summons of the season! And (in the country) the sensation of the lush, cool soil against the sole, when the sappy moisture is drunk in by all those pores, long denied, and ascends to vivify the entire being, and when the mud “squshes” up between the wriggling, happy toes; and the bliss of the June road, where the warm dust lies like a velvet pad, so comforting!

How a kid—lad or lass—can run barefoot! How he, or she, wants to run! How he, or she, must run! Bless my heart! This zest to “go barefoot” typifies spring universal, when it is in nature to burst bonds, to revel in youth, and to be thankful for life.


2 Responses to “The Summons of Spring”

  1. Beach Bum Says:

    Yes, that was the image I had of going barefoot when I was a kid. Summer = barefoot, even if it was mostly around the yard. Today’s young parents do not even know this ever happened. On some parenting website I read last year, one parent said that sometimes her kids would walk barefoot from the house to the car and then she would put their shoes on them. Apparently she was the radical of the group. They all bore down on her, accusing her of being a ‘bad parent’, and that their kids would never be allowed to step outside in the yard without some sort of footwear. And one young mother, outraged, said something like “you let your kids walk barefoot in the driveway to get to the car? Are you nuts? What if the car tires had run over some diseased animal?
    I guess those tire changing mechanics who touch tires with their hands all day must be dropping dead left and right…..

  2. Eric Says:

    Great poem. Such freedom within the words! I am inspired and now I am off to class barefoot :]. Peace and joy!

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