Happy Valentine’s Day

Today, as most of you should already know, is Valentine’s Day. For some, this day encapsulates everything that is lovely in the world, but for the sadder majority, today is a greeting card holiday designed to make single people miserable. I used to belong to the latter group, referring to February 14th as “Singles’ Awareness Day” – is there any other day on the calendar where the unattached are more noticeable than this day? I honored whatever it was I knew of love by going to the movies alone, gazing longingly at every couple in the theater, envious of their hands clasped tight around one another as if they were sharing arteries.

There was an overwhelming amount of love beaming all around me in those theaters, but never beaming toward me. The unbearable loneliness I felt could only be cured by a post-movie detox viewing, still alone, of The Saddest Music in the World, starring Isabella Rossellini (right, w/ mink), which may be the saddest movie in the world. I rendered myself an absolute wreck, wanting nothing more than to sit on my doorstep and share a cup of hot tea with someone who would look through my eyes, but certain that was a beautiful dream destined to stay on the horizon.

I don’t know what it is about the passing of a year that causes so many changes within us. 365 days, in the scope of a life, is a relatively short trip. It’s staggering to think of the many people we meet, the choices we make, the songs we sing. A year, if done right, is an overstuffed suitcase – the kind you have to shove your knee into in order to pull the zipper shut, memories peeking out of the busted seams.

Somewhere in my suitcase of the past year, I found love. Not the kind of love you write in a card, but the kind that fills every corpuscle to the point of bursting. It’s as if someone gave me a pair of new sunglasses; I can finally see the love that was always beaming toward me. It sounds extremely corny, but there is still love to be found in a room full of strangers.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry speaks to me in this excerpt from his novella, The Little Prince:

“Come and play with me,” proposed the little prince. “I am so unhappy.”
“I cannot play with you,” the fox said. “I am not tamed.”
“Ah! Please excuse me,” said the little prince. But, after some thought, he added:
“What does that mean– ‘tame’?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means to establish ties.”
” ‘To establish ties’?”
“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have not need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…”

“My life is very monotonous,” he said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to to the wind in the wheat…”

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. “Please– tame me!” he said.
“I want to, very much,” the little prince replied. “But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”
“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me…”
“What must I do, to tame you?” asked the little prince.
“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me–like that–in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me every day…”

So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near–
“Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”
“It is your own fault,” said the ltitle prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you…”
“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.
“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.
“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.
“Then it has done you no good at all!”
“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.” And then he added:
“Go and look at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret.”

The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.
“You are not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when first I knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.”
And the roses were very much embarrassed.
“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you– the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”

And he went back to meet the fox.
“Goodbye,” he said.
“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would ensure to remember.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…”

Thanks for reading, my dear friends. I wish each and every one of you love. You don’t have to look for it, just open your eyes.

    • Hobo Joe
    • February 14th, 2010

    mmm brother

  1. 🙂 pure beauty. just like you! i can’t imagine this last year without you in it. lovelovelove

    • theyearofme
    • February 15th, 2010

    Love your take on the whole day.
    You’re absolutely right – love is everywhere, in all different forms.
    Love suitcase analogy. Definitely a goal I want to work towards for this year. Kudos to you, darlin!

    • rex
    • February 15th, 2010

    beautiful and I laughed out loud at the ‘sharing arteries” line…

    • Deb Hauck
    • February 15th, 2010

    Wow. You articulated so beautifully what we were talking about at lunch yesterday. When I need/want love, then “love”. You are wise and funny.

    • Muv
    • February 15th, 2010

    What a meaningful writing on Valentine’s Day….made me a bit sad to think of you feeling so lonely, but it is so special to know you are filled with love and loving what you do…you express yourself so well and this writing is an outstanding gift….thanks!!!

    • Teresa
    • February 15th, 2010

    I love this piece…and you! One special secret…when you long for love simply find a way to give someone love….be it to give a genuine smile, pay for someone’s coffee, ask someone how they are doing and really listen, give your Muvie a call….whatever. I believe when we do this, love eagerly comes forward. xxoo

    • dane
    • February 15th, 2010

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing this, as I’ve never read it. Hope you had a great day!

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