The Happy Story of the Tiny German Hedgehog
"It was in a park between nondescript German apartment buildings. Block structures built in the 1950s after the war and then painted blues and pinks to look more friendly. My one friend had gotten a dorm room out there, whereas my roommate and I were in the medieval part of town where everything was picturesque. I think that day we had been at the US Army base, looking for grits. Had a craving. Turns out there are none in Germany, so we went to the army base, but came up empty-handed. So we were kinda dejected and just roaming. We found a zipline in the park and tried it out a few times, but it didn't really help the mood. So we kept walking. It was late summer, and so the sun was going down pretty late still. Maybe around 9 pm or so. And it was starting to get cold at night. I was wearing some wooly mittens I had bought in town at the market. Then, over in the distance I saw a shadowy little thing moving around. There are tons of moles -- and molehills -- everywhere over there, so at first I thought it might be a mole (maybe a cold mole...aren't they quick? This thing was really slow.) Anyhow, I approached it and saw the little spikes. They look like a hairbrush, and the thing was really tiny. When it saw us it froze in its tracks and curled up in a tiny ball. I'm not sure why, but I reached down with my mitten-hands and picked him up. They really are spiky. And it just stayed curled in the ball until I put it down. Made an otherwise dreary and unsuccessful day (of searching for grits) much better somehow."
where we are held in a safe, warm hand with love and curiosity -
the way you might gently hold a small newly-discovered creature when you are a child
just to examine it because it fascinates you.
And I believe that if you are held with love long enough,
you become brave enough to unfurl, which shows more of the beautifully surprising parts of you.
But I guess if you have been held roughly, or not held at all,
you curl more and more tightly.
Am I the cozy mitten or the tight little hedgehog. I have a feeling that everyone is both at different times. And it's just something to consider as we move through the world,
nudging up against one another.
I've always suspected that if a person seems "boring" or mean or puzzling to you,
maybe you just need to be an even cozier mitten to discover the truth.
But what do I know? I'm hopelessly optimistic.