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
I think one of the beauties of holidays is that they help us focus on attitudes or behaviors that could just make our lives a bit more meaningful. The help you received for your move showed that. And I love how the no cherry picking of what was moved lead to a cherry pie! Cherish, indeed!
My pleasure, Jim! Thank you for reading and responding. It’s great to have a community dialogue going!
i’ve enjoyed your writing, your beautiful thoughts and wonder where you are moving to?
Glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog! I’m doing some housesitting for friends while I look for a new home. Not leaving Maine — have no fear!
It was fun to help with your move — and good exercise. At one point, we all had our coats off in the 0 degree temperature, showing how the warmth of hearts wins over cold on Valentine’s or any day!
Yes, a lovely lesson in temperatures, inner and outer. Which means I will have to quote from Moby Dick, one of my favorite books: “Oh man! admire and model thyself after the whale! Do thou, too, remain warm among ice. Do thou, too, live in this world without being of it. Be cool at the equator; keep thy blood fluid at the Pole. Like the great dome of St. Peter’s, and like the great whale, retain, O man! in all seasons a temperature of thine own.”
A sweet-cherry taste of life…perfect for Valentine’s Day and actually every day. Thank you for you and congratulations on the Auspicious Move! X
My current favorite quote ‘Try now to expect nothing and the whole world opens to you,’
Not harboring expectations is a difficult and rewarding practice for sure, especially in the realm of close relationships. That’s a big part of what I was trying to say here: that love often looks different than we expect, bigger and more diverse and omnipresent, like the shape shifters of old. Our expectations can obscure the true identity of things, which means we miss a lot and don’t enjoy life as much as we might.