Tuesday, October 25, 2016

THE POWER OF THE HUDDLE

post by Lynn

Waaay up in Antarctica, where winds can gust up to 100 mph, Emperor penguins have a unique way of staying warm: they huddle.

Hundreds of those guys and gals in their snazzy tuxedos get together in order to survive the 60-degrees-below-(Farenheit) temps. Deep in the huddle, the temperature can get up to a balmy 70 degrees F.

But here’s the great thing, in my opinion: the warm spot in the center is equally shared. 

Every penguin gets a turn in the middle, and each one spends time at the frosty perimeter. There’s no hierarchy, researchers say--no deal where an Alpha penguin sits cozy while his minion penguins freeze their tails off at the edge.

I’ve recently had the unique-to-me experience of being stopped cold in my writing tracks. Unable to write anything.  It happens, I know, or at least I’ve been told. But it’s never happened to me in such a complete way. 

And the heartwarming thing is that my writing buddies, family and friends have made like penguins—they have huddled around me and pushed me to the middle and shielded me from the cold. 

Soon, I’m sure, I’ll warm up enough to move outward and offer the toasty spot to one of them. I’ll take my turn and face the wind.

But for now, I’ll just soak up the heat and be grateful—so grateful—that I have all these warm bodies around me. 

I can only hope that you have a huddle too. Because the wind is going to blow, whether we want it to or not. On occasion the writing will freeze up. 

Thank you, all my penguin people, for being in my huddle. Couldn’t make it without you.



And for some comic relief (who couldn’t use THAT these days?) check out this video in which Benedict Cumberbatch is called to correct his odd pronunciation of the word “penguin.” (Move ahead to 3:28 for the bit about penguins.) 



8 comments:

  1. Oh, good. I'm not the only one who mispronounces things. When I first dated my husband, I offered him a cup of kuh-MO-muh-lee (chamomile) tea.

    Any time you need me to take the bracing cold, I'll do my best. Goodness knows you've stuck me in the middle of the pack often enough.

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    1. You're a hell of a huddler and I am forever grateful for it!

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  2. Hey, let me know if I can huddle with you some time to help out. I saw something the other day that I printed off in enough copies to give each student in my class a small copy and asked them to pin it over their desks. It is from William Stafford, when he taught at Lewis and Clark. He told his students that when they get stuck they should just "Lower your standards and keep writing." It does work.

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    1. Thanks, Art. I'll take all the advice I can get! BTW--I am a big fan of Kim Stafford, William's son. His book, The Muses Among Us, is one of my favorite writing books.

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  3. I for one don't understand where you get "kasem" out of chasm. So it's "CH-asm" as far as I'm concerned, wrong though I seem to be.

    Hang in there, Lynn. Those cold katabatic winds WILL change direction and the chinooks will bring their warmth. Just give them time. In the meantime, have some tea, maybe Celestial Seasoning's English breakfast laced with a little Maker's Mark. Hits the spot. If you add too much MM you won't care if you can't write so season accordingly. :)

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    1. Maker's Mark, eh? That cracks me up. Unfortunately, I can't take hangovers so I'll have to have my English Breakfast tea straight :-)

      Thanks for the words of encouragement. You are absolutely right--the winds will change. Patience, I tell my frustrated heart, patience.

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  4. Count me in on the huddle. We're all in this together.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I can feel the warmth from here--frequently by way of your beautiful photographs on Facebook 😊

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