Saturday, January 18

affection, safety, and a puppy

I learned just today that the German word halten can mean in English to hold or to stop.

this seems profound for some reason. the sentence in my Duolingo German lesson was "die Eltern halten ihr Babies (the parents are holding their babies)" and when my first instinct was to translate that verb as are stopping, I figured I should check the app's hints for it first. they did show both options, but the context seemed to call for are holding instead. depending on the age of one's baby, there aren't that many things you need to or can stop one from doing, really.

if I stop to think for a moment about the same range of meanings in all the history and senses of to hold in English, does that make the whole thing less profound?

the word's etymology is a long one. some snippets that resonate this afternoon:
"to contain; to grasp; to retain"
"to possess, control, rule; to detain, lock up"
"to foster, cherish, keep watch over"
"to keep back from action"

all this potent potential meaning curled up in to hold. and then there are all these phrasal verbs, too: hold back, hold up, hold out, hold off, hold against, beholden to...

to be held as a parent holds a young baby is to be safe. comfortable. cared for. right?

to be held is also to be restrained. controlled. and to be restrained isn't usually considered comfortable, though... right?

or is it?

maybe it is.


in a "limits are possibilities" sort of way.

I don't remember when exactly this photo is from. September 2016 when we went to the National Zoo? probably. it's been sitting on hold in a blogpost draft for at least three years or so.

to hold also has a sense of continuation. to hold a note. to hold your position. to uphold a ruling. to have and to hold.

sometimes all of that isn't comfortable either. but sometimes it is.

I've been doing this year's 30 days of yoga. it's wonderful even when I don't think I have the time or energy for it-- alternating movement and holding, centering body and mind and breath so all is balanced. not always easy. but it is enough.

I am enough. now is enough. I hope.

in other news-- last week we added to our household a new puppy.

his name is Hamilton.

or, if you're feeling extra fancy, Hamilton Chidi Chewbacca Chesley Alonzo. he's already learned to come when called and to sit on command. Wesley's still warming up to his rambunctious, half-tamed puppy energy, but they're getting along pretty well so far.

what good pugs.

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