I’ve been a dirt walker all my life.

To me, all shoes are for is to keep your feet warm and safe from man-made surfaces and snow.

Of course, as a little farm girl up in the North Woods and growing up under the wing of a wise Grampa, it was just a natural habit. I’ve never grown out of it.

Something there is about the feel of soft grass and warm dirt. A feeling of connection and freedom.

And come a summer rain, as long as it wasn’t a thunderstorm, Grampa Roy would let us kids run out and play in it. An added bonus was splashing through the puddles, feeling the soft mud squishing up through your toes.

When I was in high school in Belfast, living with my aunt, she used to get upset at my always running around barefoot.”What,” she would ask “if you stub your toe?” “Well," I would answer, “I’d probably hop around howling for a bit.”

Turns out, there’s a very good reason for having your bare feet on the ground.

I came across a book decades ago titled: “The Body Electric.” Turns out we are bioelectromagnetic beings. Our systems are, largely, electric. The book itself was more than I could plow through, being scientific experiments, years and years of them, with frogs, salamanders and starfish, cutting them apart and studying how they regenerate lopped off limbs. (It involves an electric field.) Far too big a tome in experimental scientific jargon far beyond my comprehension…or staying awake.

But I could pull out the basic principles: we are the most complicated creation on earth whose capacities have only been scratched. (Artificial Iife will never surpass us, so not to worry.) We run on DC current and run better and healthier by being "plugged in" to the earth’s grid and breathing in negative ions, which we can find best where there is moving water, like on the shores of the ocean, lakes and ponds, by waterfalls and the air following thunderstorms. Who knew? Negative ions are an energizing plus.

Some years later, I ran across books on the theory of "grounding." I could actually understand them. The grounding books came out long before we had computers or cell phones or digital cameras.

It’s long been known that the earth itself is "electric," with a natural electric charge. (We use that for "grounding" our appliances through the electric system in our houses that ultimately has a grounding wire that is connected to the earth, or to a pipe in the earth.) Otherwise, things could short circuit and we’d get crispy-crittered.

Back to our cell phones, laptops and digital cameras. They run out of energy and need frequent recharging by getting connected, or grounded, to our grounded house electric system.

And so do we. We all operate on the same principle. But we seldom get enough, unless we walk barefoot on the earth. It’s why we gravitate to the shores of the sea and ponds and lakes and the forest. Why we, deep down, dream of a simple cabin far away from the city. It’s why we feel energized and connected in these places.

It’s why I have several dirt roads around the county where I walk my dog, barefoot.

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, is a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools. She lives in Morrill.