Hot & Steamy Monday Momma came by for a visit yesterday. This morning her post was on my desk with a note: “Dahlin’, kindly post this on your blog for your lovely people.”
When I arrived in Boston yesterday morning I heard Heidi saying that if only Someone with a big S, or someone with a little s, or anyone, really, were with her, then her life would be better. It’s a lonesome thought that one (if only, then…), likely to bring its share of sad and tears. So I decided to pay her a visit.
I nearly scared her to death when I appeared at her window, truth be told. She was all, “heard of a door, lady?” But she let me in. Kind of her, really, perched as I was on quite the narrow ledge on the second floor thankyouverymuch of her building. I might be the weather, but a brick ledge is a precarious perch no matter who you are.
“Helllllohhh,” I exclaimed, in my best sultry voice. “I’m Hot & Steamy Monday Momma. Lovely to see you, Heidi.”
Her eyes got all squinty. “And who are you?”
“I just told you, I’m Hot & Steamy Monday Momma.” I tried not to grin.
“Right,” she raised her left eyebrow skeptically. To be fair though, while I know her quite well, this was the first time I’d appeared at her window wanting in.
“And how exactly do you know who I am?”
Oh my, but that just made me laugh– to think that it’s not obvious that the weather would know everything there is to know… But I pulled it together and tried to look serious, for her sake: “yes, love, you’re Heidi. We weather girls know.”
She stood there, pretty much just staring, her mouth agape.
“What? You’ve never seen a Hot & Steamy Monday Momma before?”
She shook her head.
“You gonna offer me a cup of coffee or something?
“Oh, sure,” she said, “sorry. I didn’t know the weather needed caffeine.”
Cheeky, ain’t she?
“I take it you want it iced.”
“Oh no, dahlin’, hot and steamy is my way.”
While she was in the kitchen I had a look-feel around. There was definitely a heavy sense in the air and it wasn’t me, I swear. This was some kind of heavy lonesome.
“Creme and sugar?” she called out.
“Does it rain in the rain forest?” I called back.
We sat and sipped our drinks, not saying much. Finally she asked, “why are you here?”
“You asked for help. I came.”
“Oh, that.” I knew she was remembering her words into her pillow as she’d fallen asleep the night before.
We sat there for another spell, quietly sipping, cradling our mugs.
“Monday–uh–Momma?” she asked.
“Yes, Sweetpea, tell me–“
“Not to state the obvious, but it’s impossible to get hugged if you are alone. And, well, I’m trying to be brave and strong and all, but I’m just afraid about the alone thing.”
I knew that our girl Heidi is my old friend Curiosity’s #1 fan so I invited her to consider possibilities, potential fallacies in her conclusions.
“I hear you about the alone thing. I do. I know where your mind goes when you think of alone and the future, and those are scary places to go. Let’s get real basic, OK? How about those hugs: what is it about being hugged that you want?” I asked.
“To feel enveloped. Held. Taken care of. Supported. Not alone. Connected. Loved.”
“Ah, yes, lovely. What if you knew that those things and qualities, and indeed, even hugs, are available to you no matter your relationship status?
She raised that wayward eyebrow of hers again, but I could see her mind chewing on my question.
“Take Mother Nature. She’s a single woman, and a single mother, at that. At least these days. Lord have mercy!” I stopped to wipe my brow, feeling a rumble of thunder in my chest, which I quelled. “Not that she hasn’t had her lovers, mind you. Not that she hasn’t had the wunderbar liaisons and long and loving relationships… I mean, you and I would not be here if it weren’t for those. But really! You’ve got to give it to her. That woman keeps going and going and giving and giving and taking and taking… she’s a sight to behold–
Heidi interrupted: “um, a point?”
Good thing I adore her. I sized her up and realized how impatient she was for a hug. “Where was I when you interrupted my story?”
“Mother Nature and her lovers–” she said, rolling her eyes a bit.
“Yes, well then… Heidi, you don’t need to be with someone to be hugged. And you can be with someone and be hugged and still feel lonely and unhugged.”
“I know! What’s with that?!”
“What’s with that is that it really doesn’t have much to do with the hugs themselves then, does it?”
“Well, if you can be happy or not with a hug, and happy or not without a hug, what’s it got to do with the hugs themselves? But still, Sweetheart, that’s for another time. About the hugs–“
“Won’t you just tell me already?”
“Tell you what?”
“Tell me where these regardless-of-relationship-status hugs are available?”
“I can’t just tell you! You know very well that telling someone things doesn’t really work. People need to find their own things. Plus it can be a game, and I know you and Curiosity like to play those.”
“Lady! You crawled through my window to tell me this? That I have to find my own examples and answers on how I don’t need someone in order to be hugged?”
“Uh, pretty much.”
At that her eyes looked so sad, it practically made me start raining in her living room.
“Tell you what. Weren’t you going to go out for a run?”
I asked in order to remind her that she always feels better after getting fresh air and movement, and that something about the repetition of motion gives her mind lots of “bings!” and invariably opens up a sense of new possibilities.
“I’ll come along, and we’ll see what we find. OK?”
She studied me in my colorful scarves and dangling, weathered beach glass earrings. “Weather girls jog?”
I did not stoop to answer that.
Off we went to the park where we did Heidi’s alternatey run-walk thing. On the runs we were quiet. On the walking laps, we talked.
“What kind of hug would you want today, Heidi?” I asked.
“A big bear kind of hug. “
“Ah yes, like a momma bear or poppa bear in the stories?”
“Something like that.”
“Just thinking of it, can’t you just feel it already?”
“Yeah, sort of. But— I want the real thing. Not the airy fairy pretend thing.”
I smiled, not about to argue. Plus I’m confident in her ability to keep opening her mind. I didn’t tell her what we weather girls and Curiosity have always known but which human scientists have recently just discovered: there are these neurons (they call them “mirror neurons“) which fire not only when a person is actually doing a thing, but also when she or he is watching, or even seeing in their minds’ eye, someone else perform that same thing. Wonderful thing, that, isn’t it?
Her voice interrupted my thoughts. “I suppose there’s mossy soft forest floor hugs, too, like in Mary Oliver’s poem, “Sleeping in the Forest.”
See? She already gets the mirror neuron thing. Smart girl! I will have to commend Curiosity.
“Oh yes, sweetheart, that’s a lovely find. That Mary Oliver, we adore her, don’t we?”
“Mmmm, yes. What’s your favorite of hers?”
“I could never pick just one. Oh so many… Peonies. The Journey. When Death Comes… I know you have a number of them on your blog.”
We ran for another lap, me enjoying the steaminess of my Monday thankyouthankyou, and by our next walking lap, she’d found more.
“Oh! There’s being buoyed by water and feeling enveloped and held up at once, every last ounce of me, with whatever heavyness or lightness I might have in my heart, totally and fully supported.” She fairly shouted this, probably on account of being out of breath, but also excited.
“Do you get to go swimming, I mean, being the weather?” she asked.
“Oh Heidi, I get to do everything. And yes, water is a fantastic
lover, I mean hugger.” I coughed, suddenly feeling steamier than I recalled having set the day to be.
It was getting to be the end of our time at the park, so I offered a suggestion of my own. “You know, if it reeeally is the flesh and blood person kind of hug you want, you could always stop a person on the street and ask them for a hug.”
I got a look from her for that, but continued unperturbed. “Sure, one might look at you weirdly, but the next person might be delighted. And who knows! You might make his or her day, sweetheart! Just sayin’. You can get creative about the actual in-the-flesh hugs. And I know you have virtual hugs at the ever-ready with all your lovelies around the world.”
She nodded, not having much breath to talk anymore. Which apparently I still did.
“And of course there’s the Hot & Steamy Momma Monday hugs, which is what I’m all about. You can always go out into the day of me, maybe for an early morning run at the park, or a 2 in the afternoon ambling stroll to the corner store, and I’ll be right there, as close as the sweat trickling down the side of your face. Tell me, who else’s hug has ever done that for you?!
“You’re weird, you know that?”
“There you go, my sweet! Happy Monday! Consider yourself hugged!”
And off I went, to my next stop. Maybe you. If so, I hope you live on the ground floor.