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Hug #45

June 17, 2011

Hug #45
June 5, 6-7 pm
Juneway Terrace Beach

Today’s hug is a quiet meditation on the beach. Recently, there has been a shift. Since we stopped hugging downtown and starting branching out across the city, the hugs have taken on a different character. We are no longer a disruption, cutting through the relentless fast-paced energy of the Loop. Now as we hug I feel our bodies becoming the landscape around us.

On this day I look out at the vast body of water before us and feel the water inside my own body. The only thing separating the two is my skin.

Today’s hug is celebration of life. Sara and I have just come from a baby shower for our friend who is incredibly pregnant. Her belly is so big it’s hard to believe she has two more months to go. Sara and I were each others’ dates to the shower. We arrived together and collaborated on the gift. On the way out I said to my friend, “Just so you know, I really like babies. I really do.”

I think about this as I stand tall with my arms around Sara at the lakefront. It amazes me that the shape of a life can change so quickly. In July my friend will suddenly become a mother. Talk about having to let go of the past and live in the present.

A couple of kids run past us and up to the lakefront. One boy, perhaps around five years old, is holding a huge beach ball. Right before he makes it to the water he drops the ball, it bounces off some tall concrete steps and into the water. The loss of the ball is immediate. There are a few people here at the lake today in this quiet grassy spot–several couples walking dogs, a group of guys smoking weed on the steps, and the kids. “Go ahead,” a mother says to her daughter and the girl shyly comes up and hugs us around the legs. A couple gives us a sandwich hug. They seem excited about our project and supportive. As Sara mentioned, there is some strangeness, too. A middle aged guy, apparently drunk, hugs me a little too closely from behind and then becomes belligerent when we won’t give him any more hugs.

Carole McCurdy, whose condo overlooks the park, comes down and hugs us for a while. More then anything I feel at peace and full of love for people around me–for Sara and Carole, for my friend and her unborn baby.

Hug #45

Hug #45

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