She swung open the door with anticipation. A pathway of meticulously placed rose petals welcomed her with open arms and, like a movie star on the red carpet, she allowed the color to propel her forward and the artificial love to pour over her. Dazzling lights glistened off her Coco Chanel dress and the click of paparazzi echoed through the crowds, as she floated toward her true love and ceremony’s host. Amidst eager praise, she graciously accepted the sparkling object presented to her and allowed its charm to whisk her away. After the glitz and glam disappeared into a starry night, she found herself alone in a dark bedroom staring at a blank ceiling. The shimmering dress abandoned next to a pile of dirty gym clothes, the once perfectly applied makeup now a mess of black cotton pads destined for the trash. As dreamland crept closer, a subtle anxiety grew and a single question took hold: after the guests leave and the candles burn out, when the diamonds lose their twinkle and the rose petals wither and die, where is the love?
The notion that love can only be found in the expression of expensive gifts or that it belongs exclusively to those who happen to be in a relationship, does not do justice to the true meaning of the word. The word love, often associated with the day February 14th, can awaken images of red roses and sparkling diamond earrings, but it can also arouse feelings of sadness and pain. This is interesting considering the history of Valentine’s Day.
Originally streaked with heroic tales and religious repression, Valentine’s Day was not directly linked to romance or love until around 1382. At this time, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the celebrated poemParlement of Foules, which describes an epic debate amongst an assembly of birds seeking to choose a mate for the coming year. As the poem goes, insults and passionate discussions arise before the birds, having failed in their mission, sing a joyous song to honour nature and welcome in the warmth of springtime.
I’m sure many conclusions have been made about Chaucer’s poem and its relevance to modern day February 14th, but for me his words reveal the truth about love. They offer the possibility that love does not discriminate against those who fly solo, nor should it be limited by a single day. They expose the love that waits for us all in seasonal sunshine and suggest that true love can be found in a connection with the wind and the trees.
If all my Valentine’s Days were compressed into a poem, its words would reveal pathways of red rose petals, sparkling gifts, and broken promises. They would whisper tales of hope and regret, desolation and adventure, of love and loss. My poem would weave a tapestry of quiet cynicism, layered with insistent restlessness and a primal longing to connect with something greater. It would caution that true love does not impair or judge, limit or lie; it is ultimately a connection, a oneness, with all of life and with love itself.
I do not profess to know much about life, but what I have learned is that love doesn’t care about material gifts, nor does it abandon those who are alone or lonely. I know that the love between a girl and a mountain is just as valid as the love between a man and a woman, and that true love can be found anywhere and in everything. It is connection with oneself, with nature, with the universe, with that something that’s within us all, and with each and every precious moment.
So, this Valentine’s Day, February 14th 2020, consider taking some time to reflect on what the words of your poem would reveal about your definition of true love. Have you allowed love to be limited by material gifts and popular culture’s belief that being single is taboo? Have you unearthed the love for and within your beautiful self? Have you taken the time to find the love in nature and in each and every perfect moment?
If your answers are not a resounding yes, consider re-defining love by endeavouring to discover the love that is everywhere. Embolden, or re-awaken, a love for your inner self by forgiving past mistakes and promises unkept and exposing the complete and perfect being that you are. Spend time in nature (whatever that means to you) and connect with the earth, trees, clouds and animals. Unearth new ways to express the love you feel for your partner, child, dog, or friend and allow their love to embrace you. Then curl up in your favorite chair to write your new Valentine’s Day poem.
Written By: Zoë Tomichich
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