Tag Archives: love

Sincerely and most ardently yours (Why don’t they write!?)

I am writing today to lament the tragic and rapid disappearance of a very classic and elegant form of expression: the love letter. The love letter (or note if someone was pressed for time) has been in existence since written forms of languages were developed. Love is one of the fundamental emotions felt by humans, and for thousands of years we have been trying with and without success to effectively put it into words. Love letter writing was once a very serious undertaking. Manuals on how to accomplish such a task date back as far as the sixteenth century. We take for granted today how easy it is to be physically near our partners and how much alone time unmarried couples are allowed now in the western world. Without the means of modern transportation and the often heavy supervision of chaperones often the love letter was the only way (provided the couple found a discrete and trusty means for delivery) that a pair of lovers could earnestly express their affections for one another. It was even considered acceptable as late as the Victorian period for gentlemen to propose marriage through letters. I think that’s a fact most people today might find a little off-putting when so much emphasis tends to be placed on the act of “popping the question” these days. This was not so in the past when a young man might be too bashful or overcome with intense emotion that he could not effectively express his intentions verbally. The Victorians, as they were wont to do, of course took love letter writing to a whole new level. They often used scented inks, gaudily decorated stationary, and flowery language. Penmanship was a skill cultivated by the more affluent classes. Judgements were passed on the quality of a person based on this fact alone. In other words a great deal of thought went into letter writing and it was governed by a score of precise rules that did not really loosen until the twentieth century.

One of the beauties of the love letter is that, provided it is looked after, there is forever a record of the very intimate exchanges of two people. So many love letters from famous individuals survive today and have provided great insight into their lives. I personally love reading these sort of exchanges between such individuals. I think a great deal can be gathered about a person by the way he or she expresses him or herself to his or her partner.

I love the eighteenth century example found in the letters of John and Abigail Adams. Not only were they very much in love which is clearly evident, but John also considered Abigail his intellectual equal and elicited his “Diana’s” advice and opinion on political matters. John was often taken far away by his involvement in forging a new nation so letter writing gave the couple their only means of keeping close and the couple took great advantage of this exchanging well over 1,000 letters that we know about today. You probably don’t really think cute when you think of John Adams, but this little letter he sent Abigail in 1762 might change your mind:

“By the same Token that the Bearer hereof satt up with you last night I hereby order you to give him, as many Kisses, and as many Hours of your Company after 9 O’Clock as he shall please to Demand and charge them to my Account: This Order, or Requisition call it which you will is in Consideration of a similar order Upon Aurelia for the like favour, and I presume I have good Right to draw upon you for the Kisses as I have given two or three Millions at least, when one has been received, and of Consequence the Account between us is immensely in favour of yours.”

There is a great book of their letters called My Dearest Friend, which is an excellent way to experience one of the greatest American love stories.

I am a known fan of Keats. Pretty much any guy who quoted his words to me could easily capture my affections. However, there was the one poor idiot who once tried to pass Shakespeare’s famous rose line from Romeo and Juliet off as Keats to me at a bar. Suffice it to say he was left quite embarrassed and without my phone number. Anyway, Keats’s letters to Fanny Brawne in their tragically sad love affair are interesting and tenderly melancholy, which appeals to me. God love a poet, they’ll break your heart, but they can certainly woo:

“I never knew before, what such a love as you have made me feel, was; I did not believe in it; my Fancy was afraid of it, lest it should burn me up. But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, ’twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures.”

Often those of us today make the mistake of assuming those in the past were somehow all more prudish and straight-laced than we are today. While outwardly this might have been how things appeared, not everyone kept their love letters as prim as one would think. Take for example this rather juicy excerpt from a letter written by Gustave Flaubert to his lover Louise Colet in 1846:

“I will cover you with love when next I see you, with caresses, with ecstasy. I want to gorge yu [sic] with all the joys of the flesh, so that you faint and die. I want you to be amazed by me, and to confess to yourself that you had never even dreamed of such transports… When you are old, I want you to recall those few hours, I want your dry bones to quiver with joy when you think of them.”

It sounds like ol’ Gustave knew how to show Louise a good time. But if you really want to read some steamy (and quite frankly, graphic) examples of love letters look no further than the early twentieth century example of those written by James Joyce to Nora Barnacle. I’m afraid I do not even have the courage to excerpt them here. Trust me, though, if you aren’t faint of heart or easily offended, they are quite the interesting read. See, letter writing can be fun!

Letter writing lived on with only a slightly diminished vigor post-telephone it seems until the birth of the internet. I love the internet. It’s great in many ways. However, I really blame it and cellphones for the decline of letter writing and proper communication skills in general. Very few of my generation (the 20s set) seem to write any form of letters at all. We text, email, Facebook, etc. For some things, though, like love letters, these forms of communication simply aren’t a good substitute. There is something to be said about receiving a letter from a loved one in the mail. It means something for someone to take the time out of their day to pen thoughts specifically designed for another. I love the intimacy of that act. I try to write letters as much as I can. I was raised by parents who wrote and write letters still from time to time. I had pen pals as a child years before I learned to use the internet. I have written love letters as well. I find satisfaction in it. I wish more people my age would get back into the habit of posting their thoughts to one another. Yes, speed and efficiency are sacrificed, but sometimes speed and efficiency are overrated. I guarantee, from personal experience, it would be very hard to find a young lady (or man for that matter) who would not enjoy receiving the written expression of their significant other’s affections folded into a lovely handwritten letter. Speaking of which, all you guys out there should really consider taking a look at “The Art of Manliness'” post about letter writing. It’s actually good advice if you’re looking to woo a special lady especially one with a romantic soul. The same goes for ladies too looking for a special way to charm a young man. Stamps really aren’t that expensive. Why not give it a try?

I hope one day we’ll return to letter writing, but I’m afraid it would take some sort of post-apocalyptic situation the likes of which were seen in that bizarre Kevin Costner film The Postman. In the mean time, though, I’ll keep doing my part by writing letters as often as I can, and faithfully checking my letter box. Happy writing, everyone!

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A little piece of calm

Things seem to be settling themselves down a bit finally. I am back home in Tennessee for the summer having left Gainesville this past weekend (and not a moment too soon, I might add). I have a couple of weeks to do as I please before I start my eight week summer internship. It will be nice enjoying home life until then. Irv seems to be happy ruling the third floor again and having people around more frequently. He will be living at home with my parents while I am away in Nashville during the week. I will miss he and the dogs, but we will have the weekends. My mom has taken it upon herself to make Irving become friends with our two goldens, Orrie and Boris, this summer. I told her lots of luck.

Sadly, it has been a month of loss. There was one fewer happy, wagging furry body to greet me when I walked in the door Saturday. We lost our female golden, Kel, last Tuesday to cancer. It was a very sudden death following what must have been a long and painful last few months for her. I did not get to say goodbye as I was still away in Florida. It was the first death of a family pet for which I was not present. It was devastating to be away, but I had gotten to see her in March and she was suffering far too much for us to let her stay until I could get in. My mom, who was Kel’s human, got to say goodbye to her, which is what mattered most. She was such a wonderful little girl, full of sass and love and always ready to greet with a smile and a lick. We’re feeling her loss here acutely.

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This was Kel in the last few days I got to spend with her.

I spent my last free day in Florida at the beach with two dear friends. I always thought I should have been born on a coast. I never feel as calm and happy anywhere as I do near the big water. Sadly, this was the first time I’ve been to a beach since moving to Florida, and it was actually the first time I have been in over five years. We went to a little public beach outside of St. Augustine. It was lovely to stick my toes in the Atlantic again and walk the surf. Luckily, as a family, we have decided to go to the Florida Keys again for a restorative trip over the winter holidays. We haven’t taken a family vacation in a couple of years, and, quite frankly, the past two years have been so full and stressful, in good and bad ways, that all three of us could use a couple of weeks to disappear. There’s something about being in the water that puts us right again. It was nice Thursday to have my brief encounter with the ocean again as I tried to keep my mind of the lad who was starting to make his way across the world.

There was a bit of a storm that blew up. We waited it out over a pitcher of beer and sea food at the little beach shack restaurant nearby.

The clouds were beautiful.

And the sandpipers were out in full force.

Yes, Ryan is spending the next two weeks in India. He has spent the better part of the last three months planning this trip (his first trip outside of the United States). Unfortunately the Indian cellphone he bought did not work out as planned in the touching-base-with-his-worried-girlfriend department. I finally heard from him today. He is in Agra currently taking in the Taj Mahal after spending the last two days in New Delhi. He is on to Varanasi tomorrow…er…today. I’m still trying to adjust to the time difference. According to his emails, he seems to be having a good time, which is good even if I am still a bit jealous. Unfortunately I won’t see him again until July when he comes to Nashville for a weekend. I’m hoping we will both have such busy summers that the time will go by quickly. Until then, we will just brush up on our electronic communication skills.

I put this together for him.

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I don’t say these things enough

Thank you, Mom. Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for encouraging me and truly believing in me, no matter how crazy my ideas seem to be. In fact, thank you for giving me my crazy streak, the innovator streak, the always see where you can push it streak. Thank you for raising the questioning malcontent I am, always engaging me and arguing with me instead of dismissing my questions about the universe. Thank you for working with Dad to give me a wonderful childhood filled with learning, animals, magic, and above all peace and warmth. Thank you for reading to me every night before going to bed joining me as we went on adventures with Harry, Bilbo, and countless Avi heroes and heroines. Thank you for singing along with me to John Denver cassettes in the car. Thank you for being a safe harbor rather than an antagonist during those awkward, often painful teenage years. Thank you for setting me free when I needed to go out into the world even when that meant we had to be apart. Thank you for the laughs that bring tears to our eyes and leave us gasping for breath. Thank you for the arms always warm and enveloping opened wide for when the tears come. Thank you for comforting me unquestioningly even when you can’t understand the dark patches I fall in from time to time. Thank you for making me feel like the most special and spectacular human being in the world everyday when secretly I know that title belongs to you. Thank you for being there, always at the other end of the line whether it be cell or skype waiting to listen patiently to whatever I have to say no matter how rambling and incoherent. Thank you for being my sounding board and my cheerleader. Thank you for creating such a wonderful, strong, and loving marriage with Dad the likes of which I hope I can have one day. Thank you for putting my happiness first, always, even when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for being a strong woman and the perfect role model. Thank you for truly being my best friend. But most of all, thank you for loving me unconditionally. I love you, Mom.

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All things go

I have been thinking a lot about loss lately: what it means to lose, how it feels, what it causes and why. Being the factually-minded scholarly type in my quest to understand loss I turned to my trusty OED, which told me:

loss  n 1 the fact or action of losing something or someone. 2 a person, thing, or amount lost. 3 the feeling of sadness after losing a valued person or thing. 4 a person or thing that is badly missed when lost.

We all lose things: keys, remotes, cell phones. This is an everyday, mundane occurrence. Ah, but it’s that third definition that really makes us human. The feeling of sadness after losing a valued person or thing. The key word there is “valued.” This understanding of the word, like the first, is something that every person will feel at some time in his or her life, but unlike the first understanding of the world this will usher in unprecedented change and the greatest agony he or she will have known to that date. To feel human is to feel completely lost and powerless in the face of change and time. Funny how language works; the same word can take on two completely different meanings. It creates the differentiation between dropping a contact lens on the pavement and having your heart shattered.

That agony I mentioned a sentence ago comes in the form of grief. Grief is the stuff that emits from the deep pit that is left when your loss (see definition 4) is ripped from you. That hole or wound, if you will, seems to appear at the center of the place where your soul meets your corporeal presence. You ache uncontrollably with such a fierce intensity, with a longing so desperate, you feel as if you will never be whole again. That wound suddenly becomes a black hole, engulfing all other meaning in your life, incapable of being filled, and it leaves you only with the irrepressible longing. This is grief.

Medically, I suppose, grief is the psychological and, yes, physical reaction we have to loss. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross famously introduced the Five Stages of Grief in her book On Death and Dying. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. They come in no distinct order nor are they experienced the same way for everyone. No one goes through the grieving process at the same rate either. I think it also gets typically associated with the death of a loved one, but it comes into play where any loss (definition 2) is experienced from losing a job or moving somewhere new to ending a relationship. The real rub about grief is that no one has the ability to ignore it. No amount of distraction or avoidance will make it leave more quickly. Grief is something one has to face. I think as humans we all have a natural inclination toward self preservation which includes an immediate desire to flee from pain and avoid ever after that which we know will cause pain. Grief is all about forcing you to embrace the pain whether little by little or head on all at once. There’s no running from it. It is there to be worked through, waiting until we are ready, but it will never go away on its own.

I think it is interesting that grief elicits a physiological response from our bodies. I found a list on the BBC website (of all places) of physical symptoms that can be brought on by grief. The list included the expected symptoms such as extreme fatigue and uncontrollable crying, but it also included heart palpitations, recurrent infections, hair loss, and disruption of the menstrual cycle, among others. Grief actually directly effects our nervous systems. When we experience an intense loss our nervous systems go into hyper drive creating a tremendous stress response. It releases enormous levels of natural steroids and throws the body into a heightened level of awareness. Essentially the body experiences what happens in the fight or flight response. Our hearts then have to react to keep up, increasing our pulse and blood pressure. As they said in the BBC article, “Even if the person seems slow and down, inside they’re in turmoil.” Our physical appearances change too. The eyes and cheeks seem to recede and sink in the face due to a number of other physical reactions such as sleep loss or lack of appetite that can occur, as mentioned our hair can thin, or our posture changes. When we see people affected by grief, they always seem like ghosts of themselves worn away by anguish. The effect can be quite striking.

What is further interesting is that many studies have now shown, and I personally agree with them, that other animals apart from humans experience grief as well.  There are numerous accounts of species such as elephants or certain primates exhibiting grief-like behavior over the bodies of their dead offspring holding vigil or carrying the body as if it were alive. Some primate offspring who lose parents also grieve. Jane Goodall famously observed the case of Flint, a chimpanzee, who lost his mother. He then withdrew from the other chimps, stopped eating, and died. Certain avian species like the grey lag goose have been known to exhibit signs of grief as well. Grey lags have actually been observed displaying outward symptoms similar to humans after the loss of a mating partner including the appearance of receding eyes and the drooping of the head and neck. It fascinates me to think that grief is potentially yet another way all fauna can be connected as living, breathing life forms. I find some comfort in that.

I am not a doctor nor am I a psychologist or any sort of professional, and all my thoughts on loss and grief are purely amateur conjecture, but thinking has always brought me comfort. Contemplation has always helped. I think in the cases where we lose people whether through death or separation in life, we are never really able to stop loving them. When love occurs between two people, in whatever capacity, it never leaves. I think it is a form of energy, and being as such it can neither be created nor destroyed, it can just exist. This is at once both beautiful and incredibly depressing. Eventually we are able to move through the grief and pack away our memories of the person to be stored in our own mental attics, but, in those boxes, also gets packed our remaining love for that person. We can somewhat push away the memories of the intensity of that love in our everyday consciousness, but when we accidentally stumble on those boxes while shuffling around in our own minds, we remember that it is still there, flickering faintly always. We can let go of everything else, but that.

When I grieve, I turn to words. I read those of other writers and try to collect my own on the page. Words help me work through things, understand, and cope.  Writers have been writing about love and loss since words were invented. It helps when I can find those particular configurations, which seem to speak directly to me.

Neil Gaiman, as I have mentioned before here, is a favorite author of mine and one that just seems to be on a similar wavelength. He wrote this in The Sandman and it pretty well captures it, all of it whether you lose someone through death or the ending of things. On that note, I will leave you all for now in the much more capable hands of a wordsmith vastly more adept than myself.

This is what he wrote about love:

“Have you ever been in love?  Horrible isn’t it?  It makes you so vulnerable.  It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.  You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…. You give them a piece of you.  They didn’t ask for it.  They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore.  Love takes hostages.  It gets inside you.  It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart.  It hurts.  Not just in the imagination.  Not just in the mind.  It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain.  I hate love.”

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Spring Break

Hello again, everyone! Hey, did you hear that 500 new fairytales were recently released from an archive in Germany? That’s pretty exciting for every lover of the fantastical like me. I just wonder how long it will take for Disney to ruin them ha ha ha.

But anyway, enough of that side note. Spring break is in full swing. I am, as tradition holds, watching Netflix while avoiding the mountain of school work that needs attending to. I’m back home in Tennessee for the week trying to enjoy a little r&r and ma famille. The weather is divine as well, sunny and cool, just as early March should be. We’ve had two fires in the fireplace since I got in Sunday night, and I get to shuffle around the house in sweaters and thick socks. It’s lovely.

It’s actually been a rather eventful past few days. Mom and Dad came down to pick me up in Gainesville on Saturday having dodged then braved storms all the way from Nashville to south Georgia. That night they officially met the lad for the first time. I don’t exactly have a great track record for picking guys that pass muster. I could not have asked for a more different and exponentially better outcome this Saturday past. Both parties enjoyed each other immensely, and we all had a lovely dinner. It was quite adorable because both sides asked the next day what the other thought of them. I was happy to give satisfactory reports all around.

As much as I hate to admit emotional weakness and general gooey-eyedness, I am miss the lad a lot. It’s our first significant amount of time apart since we started up. I’m starting to wonder how we’re going to make it through three months when I leave for Nashville come May. Oh yeah, I’ll be living in Nashville over the summer completing an internship at the Tennessee State Museum working with some photography collections and getting to work on some of the programs done across the state. I’m looking forward to it very much. Although I will be very busy and close to my friends and family again, I will miss Ryan greatly. But what’s that Rochefoucauld quotation, “Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones, as the wind blows out the candle and fans the bonfire.” I’m banking on that being the case.

Enough of that business, though. I got to spend the entire day yesterday in the studio. I was also on fire. Out of seven plates, only one turned out slightly less than what I wanted. That never happens. I will freely admit I have expended five or six plates just to get one shot perfectly. I have a senior picture shoot with a local student Thursday so I hope the winning streak lasts.

Well, I think I have probably wasted enough time, and I should get onto my Ethics homework. I will leave you with two more things, though. Last Friday Ryan and I spent time listening to and sharing music with each other. The fact that we can do this is very important to me. We both share a love for La Blogothèque‘s Take Away Shows and, because we’re freakishly cute, we both think the Beirut ones are the best. So, as a last bit of gooey-eyedness here they are because they remind me of the lad (and they’re just amazing if you’ve never watched them). Enjoy.

(Okay, no more lovesick puppy nonsense again for a very long while).

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How could I not weigh in?

Well, today is Valentine’s Day, a day when, according to Time, people in the United States will spend approximately $126.03 per person on candy, jewelry, flowers, lingerie, stuffed bears that exclaim “I looooooove you!” in tinny voices. I’m not great with math, but considering that there are over 3 million of us, that’s a lot of dough.

Today, I am laid up in bed with a very wicked stomach virus my personal valentine, who is pretty pitiful right now as well, gave me, and I thought that while I rested I would meditate the holiday. We all know what Valentine’s Day has become as evidenced by the first paragraph of this post, but, being the history lover I am, I find the history (or jumble of histories, really) of the holiday much more fascinating and romantic than the swirl of consumerism that consumes our country every mid February. Here, then, is the quick and dirty history of  Valentine’s Day.

Like many holidays on our modern calendar, Valentine’s Day has pagan origins that extend beyond its Catholic ones. Each February 15, Roman’s would celebrate the festival of Lupercalia in honor of the god Faunus and Romulus and Remus. A goat would be sacrificed at the cave where the twins were believed to have been nursed by the wolf Lupa. The goat hide was then removed and cut into strips and dipped in the goat’s blood. Men would take the blood dipped strips around the city gently slapping women in order to ensure fertility for the coming year. If you know your Shakespeare, you’ll recognize this ritual in the first act of Julius Caesar. After the run the young ladies of the city would toss their names into an urn and the young men would fetch them out. Whoever got your name was essentially your new boyfriend or girlfriend for the coming year. It saves time and fuss, I can kind of see the appeal.

As Christianity spread in the Roman empire new origins for the holiday emerged. Many believe the Catholic Church adopted the date for the old festival of Lupercalia for the Feast of Saint Valentine in order to further convert the Roman people to Catholicism. As far as Saint Valentine’s involvement in the story is concerned, there are two major versions of the story. At this point it is also important to note that the Church recognizes multiple St. Valentines. They were all martyred as well. Hey, we’re talking Romans and the Catholic Church here. I didn’t promise it wouldn’t get convoluted. Anyway, one story alleges that a priest named Valentine helped young men marry their sweethearts secretly under the reign of Claudius II who wanted his soldiers minds on vanquishing the foes of the Roman Empire and not on their honeys back home. Valentine was discovered and put to death.

The second story, and perhaps the lesser known of the two, is of a Valentine who helped Christians escape Roman persecution. He, surprise, surprise, was caught as well and locked up himself. Apparently he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and, as legend goes, sent her the first valentine in the form of a love letter signed “From your Valentine,” before he was also put to death. We know how much the Church loved to celebrate its martyrs with feasts back in the day so thus the Feast of St. Valentine was put in place to celebrate one or both of these guys.

Eventually this day of St. Valentine was moved to February 14th in the Middle Ages (because that’s apparently when scientific minds of the time believed birds started getting it on for the year). While some Medieval lovers chose to exchange tokens around this time, Valentine’s day did not become my widespread in it’s celebration until the seventeenth century. Europeans brought the holiday with them to the New World and there are reports of Valentine’s Day exchanges in the Americas dating to the 1700s. For those, like myself on occasion who bemoan the commercialism of the holiday, well, you have “the mother of the American Valentine,” Esther A. Howland to thank. She is the originator of the original mass-produced Valentine’s Day card. The daughter of a successful stationery store owner from Massachusetts began making her own gaudy, lacey, god awfully ornate versions of the English valentines (oh those Victorians) and pitched them to the American public with overwhelming success. The rest is history…

It’s pretty amazing to contemplate how the holiday has changed over the years. I’ve never been one much for celebrating it. I always looked on in disgust when I was in school at all of the flowers, candy boxes, balloons etc. that my fellow students received during the school day. It was an ostentatious display of over consumption, and to this day the Valentine’s Day aisles that appear pretty much right after the Christmas aisles are dismantled in major chain stores make me wish to vomit. I’ve also been part of that not-so-enthusiastic portion of the population that finds itself without valentines with which to celebrate the day. I know firsthand the desire to just get through the day without taking scissors to teddies’ necks or pins to balloons and wake up with the general haze of puppy love cleared from the air on February 15. However, looking back on the somewhat murky but really kind of romantic and sexy origins of the Day, I think I might have come to a civil truce with it. I think, when you truly love and care about your partner, there is nothing wrong with taking a day out of an otherwise overly jammed and distracted year to tell them and show them how much they mean to you. Yes, this should be done year round, but, let’s face it, sometimes we can get caught up in the insanity of our twenty-first century lifestyles, and we forget to do so. While I prefer the more handmade, thoughtful, original, and private approach, some people really feel that the only way to do it properly is the opposite. That’s cool, if that’s your thing. We all just need to remember, it’s not about what’s in the box, card, or bouquet, but instead it’s about why you’re giving that to your special someone.

Now that I’ve given my treatise on Valentine’s Day, I will finally shut up, and leave you all with something that I feel is essential for a perfect celebration of the day, good love poetry. This one is by my favorite poet Carl Sandburg and is coincidentally the one I’m exchanging with my valentine this year.

“I Love You” by Carl Sandburg

I love you for what you are,
but I love you yet more for what
you are going to be.
I love you not so much for your realities
as for your ideals.
I pray for your desires that they may be great,
rather than for your satisfactions,
which may be so hazardously little.
A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.
The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud
Where in the pangs and ecstasies of desire
are working for a larger and finer growth.
Not always shall you be what you are now.
You are going forward toward something great.
I am on the way with you and
therefore I love you.

I wish love and happiness to you all today and for the days to come.


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Erm… Wednesdays with Irving

So I was in finals hell this past Sunday and did not get to put up a Sundays with Irving post. I am sure you all missed it so much (sarcasm implied). Anyway, I just finished my last assignment and am mere hours from leaving in the small hours of the morning tomorrow. Irv has been so patient with my madness and lack of homage paid over the last couple of weeks. He is being extra sweet and lovely today. This is him listening lazily to Real Estate and lightly patting my foot as I finish up my final edits.

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