The Taos Hug

People like to talk about the Taos Hum, a low-frequency sound that is supposed to eminate from the high desert. I have my own theories about the Taos Hum but today I write about another phenomena — the Taos Hug.

I have lived in Taos for nearly seven years. In that time, I’ve been hugged more times than in my entire pre-Taos life. I’ve been hugged by people I know, those I semi-know and under rarer circumstances, people I’ve just met. 

My observation is that people here tend to lead from their heart.

It’s not that I’ve been unloved prior to moving here, certainly not with my family. But being hugged by relative strangers can be a little disconcerting for this New Englander. At first, anyway. I quickly grew to accept it. It’s gotten so I freely initiate a hug. 

This open display of affection reminds me of my childhood. It was customary on my father’s side of the family that when we entered a home we greeted each person — our grandparents, aunts, uncles, whoever — with a kiss and words of blessing in Portuguese. (My father’s family is from the Azores Islands.) When we left, we did the same. When we came in, sweaty from play, we went through the same routine. Childish, yes, but I remember those moments fondly.

I don’t hug everyone. Even in this heart-felt part of the word, it’s not appropriate in a business setting. Besides, there are people I don’t want to hug. A smile, a friendly greeting and/or handshake will do. You just know.