Stay connected. Stay six feet apart. Stay at home. But stay connected.
I don’t think we have ever before, within my 80 years of memory, needed the solace of touch more. I get up earlier, Conrad somewhat after, but for years and years the first thing that happens when we greet the morning together is a long full-frontal embrace, the kind that makes your knees wobble. It’s not just a good way to start the day, it’s essential soul-food.
So yes, the two of us can still embrace each other in our shelter. I rejoice in that more keenly every day. We talk on the phone as often as we can with our son Eli and with our daughter Johanna. And when will the day come when we can safely hug them again? Our children? The gorgeous people who long ago drank my milk?
In our long years when we toured Dessie all over this country as our part of combatting child abuse, we spoke to each audience after the harrowing performance to suggest what might happen in their community to keep young parents from falling into Dessie’s abyss. One part of this was knowing what all children need, including the hidden wounded children inside the abusive parents. One documented form of abuse is termed “failure to thrive.” Children deprived of loving touch do not thrive.
Can touch happen without physical contact? Conrad and I have explored this over the years. For more than forty years we have celebrated the full moon and the dark moon with our own personal ritual, without fail, whether together or apart. If I am in France and he is in Sebastopol, we agree on a mutual time and do our best to achieve touch. You’d be surprised.
As I write, we are losing beloveds, as we all do over and over. I lost my mother before I even knew who she was, but I wear the beautiful silver ring she wore, and when I touch it, I touch her. I loved two powerful actresses who both set sail from our shores in recent times, but I can still embrace each of them.
There’s a gospel song whose refrain is “This may be the last time, it may be the last time, I don’t know.” Last time to sing together, to love each other, to see each other . . . none of us knows. In the last years, every time I visit the stones in Carnac I sing this to myself as I walk. What comforts me is that ever since I bonded with that place, it has been so clear in my heart’s memory that I can close my eyes and be there, really be there. I can walk the half-hour’s path from the village to the hostel, seeing every foot of the path, smelling the pines, hearing the ocean.
Trees talk to each other with their roots and help each other when needed. (Really. Look it up.) Mycelium are the Earth’s internet. I think I tuned into that at Carnac, and the Earth is letting me dial up. The moon let Conrad and me use her high-speed channels. Check out our primal roots and see what they can do for you.