We all think we know what Love is, but somehow, when we talk about it, the real truth emerges, which is that Love is something so powerful that it evades a simple description. Consider the panoply of different classifications of love: romantic love, passionate love, puppy love, infatuation, erotic love, true love, enduring love…
How we ever came to lump, under the rubric of Love, every damned emotion we experience while under someone’s spell is a topic worthy of a treatise itself. Yearning, desperation, confusion, exaltation, doubt, liberation… In fact it is all Love, which is probably why we love Love, the ideal of that turns Valentine’s day into a billion dollar business.
At any rate, I certainly don’t possess the bathysphere with which to fathom the mysterious deeps of the heart, and so it seems fitting, instead of making the typical annual proclamations about Romantic Love, to ask questions.
What is devilishly complicated and divinely simple?
What is the one thing we all say we want, and the very thing that continually eludes?
What makes the world go round yet extinguishes the sun?
What is sensual and spiritual at once?
What causes us to rise above the senses, yet anchors us within them?
What amplifies our mood swings off the charts? Makes cartoon characters of us?
What liberates and imprisons?
What blinds and yet gives sight?
Confuses us yet renders life startlingly clear?
What exalts us and yet leads us to the most base manipulations?
What is gentle and kind yet sometimes brutal and cruel?
What is like spinach to Popeye and kryptonite to Superman?
How describe the feeling?
Is it a slow motion spark? A spark that kindles into a fire whose flames fire up synapses, burn along veins, rush blood to the skin, speed the pulse… an eruption of the soul which suddenly illuminates the world?
Or is that feeling like a sped up blossoming, suddenly opening inside of us, pushing chlorophyll and scent and color through every corpuscle, leaving us breathlessly open – fresh – new.
Or is it a slowly reddening dawn?
Or a storm that rises on the horizon, swiftly sweeps over us, drenching us?
Is it predetermined? Or completely up to chance?
Is it in any way logical or completely illogical?
Do we have any say in the matter?
Is there any escape?
Are we fools to think, when all else in the world is ephemeral, that love should be constant?
How would we know we had a soul if not for love?
Is love perhaps really just the way we plumb the depths of our own hearts… the way we experience the fullness of life?
I will hazard this: Romantic Love is a force of nature, like the weather, blowing through our world, asking no permission.
All we can do is talk about it, and submit…