As I walk the trail, the grasses say hello to me and I say hello to them.They are alive, like me. They penetrate my being with their green energy. It is a feeling on the skin of my arms, a tenderness that all living things have toward me, a tenderness that I experience with and for them.

Intimacy happens at a cellular level. It happens as a whole-body feeling. I first regained it (we all start as intimate part of the mother and then proceed to lose it in this tick-tock world) twenty-five years ago, in Crested Butte, Colorado, after a study session with Virginia Satir. I walked out of the conference room and there was Mount Crested Butte, towering above the town, and it spoke to me. It spoke not in words but in a connection of its cells with mine, and I loved the mountain as much as I ever loved my father. The mountain was a presence next to me, within me right then. Roughness and stones have their own tenderness to share with me, when my heart is open.

Intimacy revealed itself to me with my cat, Huck Finn. It happened through her muscular, vibrating little body resonating with my hands. The catness of my cat was my own slinking catness, as the grassness of the grass is my grassness, as the stone-ness of Mt. Crested Butte is my own solidity and calm strength.

Intimacy is the breeze against my face, the warmth of the sun. Intimacy with myself is loving my feet. Intimacy is loving oil paints, their color, the buttery texture, the smell of turpentine. Intimacy with a piece of equipment is asking it--what does it need right now? Is it a cleaning, a drop of oil? Does it need a bolt tightened or a new belt put in? Things respond to tenderness in their own thingness way. Intimacy teaches patience, with myself, with the resplendent world around us, with the things we make.

Isn't it odd that intimacy is hardest with our own kind?