My new, first-ever smartphone informs me that today is Valentine’s Day, All Day. But I knew that. The heart-shaped boxes of chocolate inching closer to the discount rack and the red-sweatered employees of my local grocery store made the day eminently clear this morning at 6, a time things are rarely clear.
The question was, what did the day mean to me, moving out of my apartment this morning, a few hours ahead of a blizzard? Maybe it meant that everyone who came to help actually helped. I moved in February in Maine amid snowdrifts as tall as I am and temperatures in the single digits.
But no one snapped at anyone else or complained. No one malingered, cherry-picking the lighter boxes. Everyone seemed oddly happy under the circumstances. There was even a young teenager, present voluntarily, who carried most of my books after being out late dancing last night. With no attitude at all. I’m still awed by this Valentine’s Day miracle.
To my mind one of the most useful skills in life is the ability to discern love in all its guises, to know it for what it is. And to do everything in one’s power to make sure the world’s love doesn’t go unremarked, or unrequited.
On this note, I have a beautifully made cherry pie waiting to be savored, along with some sparkling red wine that strikes a rare balance between sweet and piquant. Which is not unlike the feeling of a supermarket at 6 am, its fluorescent splendor empty and overflowing at the same time.
Here’s a toast — To all the unlikely beauties of this world: the long shots and the near misses, the late-game reversals and the death-bed epiphanies, the indivisible harmony of opposites and the everyday feats of impossibility.
You know who you are.
Image Ian Vollmer