Over on Fantasy Matters this week, we are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of A Wrinkle in Time, and honoring the works of Madeleine L'Engle. I love her work, so much, but as I was thinking about what I would write as part of this week's post, I remembered a Valentine's Day, in grade school. We had read Wrinkle, and one of the boys in my class sent me a Valentine, addressed to IT, the unfeeling, unloving, giant brain that is the villain of the book. It was meant to hurt, and oh, it did.
I have been single on Valentine's Day, and I have been in a relationship. I have also spent Valentine's Day in a flurry of last minute negotiations of a divorce settlement, trying desperately to make the deadline, so as not to put my marriage on public trial. So thoughts? On Valentine's Day? I have had them. I have had the gamut.
But you know what? I like love.
And sure, I know that Valentine's Day doesn't celebrate love. I mean, it kind of never did. It showed up in modern consciousness because of Chaucer, who set his poem "The Parliament of Fowls," on Valentine's Day, as they day when every bird chose their mate. Which sounds sort of sweet and romantic until you learn that birds were a symbol of immense lust at the time, not romantic love. Yes, there is a reason that the lustful souls in the Inferno are blown about in a constant wind, like birds in the air.
So we go from lustful birds to regulation chocolates and flowers and lingerie so complicated it needs instructions to put on and scissors to remove. And no, that's not love. Oh, sometimes - even on Valentine's Day - those things can be given in love, and that is beautiful, as anything given in love is. But too often the symbols become replacements - someone gives an expensive piece of jewelry and thinks that is the same as saying "I love you," as behaving in a manner that shows the other person that they are loved. It is not the same, not at all.
But I like love. I like the kind of love that trips your pulse when you see another person, and gives you delicious thoughts about getting naked with them. I like the kind of love where your day gets better because of the name attached to an email in your inbox. I like the kind of love that picks up the phone, or sends a letter, or gives a hug to help alleviate loneliness, or that dances around your house with you in celebration. I like the kind of love that is a warm cat on your lap, a snoring dog at your feet, a trusting child in your arms. I like the kind of love that giggles with you over shared wine, and that holds your hand when the bottom falls out of your world.
So today, I celebrate love, and all the people in my life with whom I am lucky enough to share it. And that includes you, because I love that you take time from your day to read my ramblings here, and to talk to me. So if you need someone to say it, because sometimes we do, on this day so overloaded with expectations, I will. Happy Valentine's Day.
I love you.