Cue the Sousa

The man in the shiny red cape passed over the plate of chili-infused chocolates. I took a tiny heart decorated with silver and popped it in my mouth, right before I was introduced to yet another caped guest. It was a great party.

I spent some time this Saturday at a gathering of folks who were organizing to march in the Fremont Solstice parade. I haven’t yet seen this annual spectacle, but I hear it’s a cavalcade of free spirits on foot. Fremont bills itself as the center of the universe, the neighborhood of artists and radicals. I love the place. I loved the people at this party, too. They were warm and friendly, and all gathered for a good cause.

Their group is called the Super-Huggers. The founder was diagnosed with cancer a few years back and her spirits were greatly lifted by all the hugs that she received from visitors. She has recovered, and wants to share the healing power of hugs with others, so she founded this group. During the parade the Super-Huggers spread good cheer and hug everyone who is receptive to it. They wear red, silver and white costumes, including red capes with white hearts. It was healing just being around them.

I’m going to walk with the group, because I believe in their mission. I wasn’t always a hugger, but friends converted me long ago. One hug goes a long way towards curing what ails you or raising already good spirits way up into the rafters. It’s free, and it’s a form of healing that we can all give to each other—no medical training required. This group isn’t affiliated with the random people offering free hugs in Seattle, but perhaps it inspired them. I don’t know. I do know that I’m looking forward to hugging the people along the parade route. How often do you get a chance to help so many people in one morning?

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

116. Give out as many hugs as possible today, and ask the recipients to pass them along to someone else. If the people you hug do the same you could end up being responsible for hundreds of hugs or more. Did you enjoy your day of hugging? Would you like to make it a more regular practice? Consider the possibilities.

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Your red carpet is waiting

Last night I went to square dancing class. It’s held in a church, and I think that’s highly appropriate. I think dance is a sacred activity. Most things are. I was waiting outside of the building to enter, and I had time to contemplate my surroundings. I love the trees there, and need to find out what kind they are. I’d like to be able to call them by name. They have wide canopies with thick, twining branches. A new crop of red leaves has appeared, casting yellow dust with red stems. It looked like confetti, or tiny scraps of scarlet and lemon lace strewn across the pavement.

Mother Nature threw a parade in the neighborhood, and I’m seeing the aftermath. I celebrate with her, because it looks like it was some party. The return of spring is certainly something to cheer about. It’s not that Seattle is a frozen wasteland during the winter—far from it. Things remain green here, and the cold is present but not punitive. The streets sparkle with rain. Spring brings back the leaves, and there are more birds about. Squirrels frolic, and we start to get some daylight back into the sky. The little changes add up to a subtle but perceptible difference.

I love these impromptu carpets that nature throws down. In the fall we have the leaves; in the forest we have the pine needles and twigs. Always we have the rain. Right now we’ve also got a lot of petals down from cherry trees and other flowering shrubs. I think that the parade is for us all, and we should be appreciative of all the pretty blossoms that are being thrown in our path. I’m going to use this excuse to think back on all the accomplishments I’ve done this year. It’s so easy to focus on what is not yet finished—I’m still job hunting, apartment hunting and packing boxes. I’m also regularly exercising, making a living, and making lots of friends. I’ve worked hard this year, and I’m going to enjoy the petals in my path. The birds are singing, and the sun has scattered fluffy white clouds against the sky. That’s my cue to go out walking. See you later!

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

100. Why is Mother Nature throwing you a parade? Celebrate what you’ve achieved so far this year, and go for a walk amongst the flowers.