This is part of a series of metaphors where I try to describe what it feels like to live inside my body.
It’s been snowing all day. I’ve walked to and from three appointments and each time has been increasingly wet and white. Each time, stepping into the warmth of home has felt just a little bit better.
When I was a kid we had a huge hill that in the summer time was used to pasture our horses and cows. In the winter it was the perfect place to toboggan. I remember cramming four, or five, or six of us onto a sled (sometimes also an unwilling dog) and screaming all the way down unto we’d fly off and get get snow in our coats, our boots, our mittens, and our mouths.
The hill was steep so I would carefully step in my dads footprints on the way up to make it just a bit easier. We would slide until it was dark and our bodies were exhausted and we were frozen through.
We’d trudge back to the house, stow the sleds, find space around the woodstove for our sopping wet mitts, and make our way to the kitchen for hot chocolate.
Wrapping my numb fingers around that warm mug was heaven. When you’re that cold you can’t really remember what warmth feels like. And then all of a sudden it’s there and it’s better than you could have dreamed. What a relief.
That’s what my husbands hugs feel like at the end of a hard day. All day I fight my failing muscles to stay upright. My back spasms as I sit up, my arms move as though they’re weighed down with bricks no matter what I carry. My steps feel like those long over reaching uphill steps back up the toboggan hill.
When you’re that exhausted you can’t really remember what a peaceful body feels like. And then he’s there and he’s supporting me as I let all my muscles relax into him and it’s better than I could have imagined.
What a relief.