February has become the month for romance and Valentine’s Day, the occasion for lovers to declare their love with gifts of flowers and candy. If you go back far enough into the history books you will find that Valentine’s Day was not always a time for celebration. Several men named Valentine were executed on February 14, many centuries later the St. Valentine’s Day massacre occurred and in between, I’m sure there were many unpleasant times!
What is love? It’s always hard to put feelings into a few words. Webster dictionary defines love as a “strong affection for another, (i.e. maternal love for a child), attraction and/or tenderness felt by lovers”. Love changes as we grow…the wonder of a first love, the intensity of a new love and the contentment of an everlasting love.
There is a saying about love being wasted on the young (I’ve been guilty of passing on that sentiment myself), but as I reconsider, I don’t really believe that. Those first brushes with young love are magical. I hope I never forget the butterflies that came with the first kiss at the door after a date or the energy that electrified my whole body when I first held hands with someone special. It was all so innocent then. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have bottled up that emotion to save for a rainy day when things aren’t going so well?
There have been many romantic movies on the big and small screen. Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is an all-time favourite especially the Masterpiece Theatre version with Colin Firth (my celebrity crush!). In the early 1800s, love simmered for a long time before anything actually happened. That didn’t make it any less romantic (quite the contrary) but not realistic for modern times.
Many songs are written about love. The lyrics to Paul McCartney’s song, “This Never Happened Before“, perfectly captures the exact moment in the movie, “The Lake House”, when the main characters, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves find the magic. This is one of the most romantic scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie.
The real expressions of love can be found in books. I tend to favour those novels that tell a tale of unrequited love or a love that wasn’t meant to be. One of my all-time favourite love stories is, “The Bridges of Madison County” by Robert Waller. I remember first hearing about the book while watching Oprah. She was over the moon with the love story and had the author on her program to discuss it. We were going to San Diego shortly after that episode and I wanted to read it while we were gone. The book was sold out everywhere!! Thank you, Oprah! On the off chance, I checked the airport bookstore when we landed in San Diego and there it was! I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I started reading soon after we checked into the hotel and didn’t stop until the book was finished… sometimes through the night. There were tears…lots of tears but also a deep appreciation for a love story that happened over just a few days but was held in the hearts of this couple forever. This novel relayed the story of every kind of love…magical, intense and everlasting. Almost every page held a worthy quotation to ponder but this one says it best.
As much as I admire the acting talent of Meryl Streep, the movie version of this story paled in comparison to the book. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it especially during this month of romance.
Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day complete with exquisite flowers and sinfully delectable chocolates!
…and to my valentine…