Nov 6, 2009

Manly hugs

"Stop it!", she cried. "Don't hug me like that. I don't want to cry. I need a strong, manly hug."

This was a (loving) complaint of a dear friend at getting a beautiful compassionate embrace from my beautiful compassionate wife. We do give different types of hugs, and can be known and appreciated for them.

This morning, our first of 4 childless mornings (thank you Grandma!!!), Sarah and I lallygagged in bed till 9am as she shared this quote, and we ended up cataloging the types of hugs our fellow Waldorf parents give. We are in a school community where we know people by their hugs - what a great measure of connection and depth.

I first embraced hugging during a summer volunteer stint at a farm in Arkansas, when 60-year-old Harley introduced himself as giving "the best hugs on the farm." It was true; he made us feel warm and safe and loved. Later, after I'd closely bonded with my fellow volunteers then had to leave for 3 weeks, I returned to find myself on the outside of the group, and wrote in a poem that "hugs have arched backs."

And years later in a new poem I summoned this image of the second hug, the emotion so deep that one hug just isn't enough.

I remember Kirsten
She brightened up one of my mornings
flopping down in baggy overalls
and eyes of dewdrop freshness
She taught me the word Purple
with a mouth big as bubbles
deep and rich as a second hug
I stood behind and near
and breathed deep through closed eyes

I remember Kirsten in shivers
when the phone rings
and I fall to pieces
just hoping it's for me

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