Many people journey to North Wales to enjoy the beauty and peace of Snowdonia. Cwm Idwal, is one such spot: a usually clear, tranquil lake in which to reflect, or paddle. But did you know it can also provide a perfectly natural and amazingly refreshing pedicure?

During a friend’s visit we provided her with a Snowdonia walking experience. It was a gentle ramble to us although she called it a boot-camp . . . but that’s another story! Being an unusually hot day for Wales, when we reached the lake we sat on the shore dipping our feet in the cool water. That was a wonderful enough sensation but more was to come: our toes began to tickle!

We looked down and there, swimming around our ankles, were a group of small fish nibbling at the skin of our feet. They stayed there for some minutes inducing a most exhilarating feeling. What a joy to be massaged by fish!

But what has all this got to do with conscious evolution? A lot.

In days long gone by, it’s possible that those enjoying the waters might have had similar experiences and sat quietly, allowed it to happen and soaking up the moment. They, unlike us, would not have been tempted to ask “What sort of fish are they?” or “I wonder what, exactly, they are doing?”.

Only the fact-obsessed modern man or woman asks such questions. From the experiential point of view it matters not what aquatic breed was responsible nor the biological justifications for their antics. Indeed, to ask such questions takes our attention off the very real, physical sensations themselves.

True, I did, briefly, ask these question. It occurred to me that there was something about our sweaty feet that the fish found desirable: some minerals in some dead skin perhaps. That was sufficient. I didn’t need to know what specific nutritional benefit our feet were provided to what species. I quickly returned my attention to the sensation. What a wonderful opportunity to give one’s rational mind a rest and enjoy a close encounter with nature.

At this stage in human’s evolution, just because we could search the internet for detailed answers, doesn’t mean we always have to!

In situations like this, where the experience if of the moment which might not last, surely it is more important to engage fully with it: to immerse ourselves in the intimate relationship with nature itself . . . beyond labels and theories . .

Keep your eye on the right foot!

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