“That love is all there is
Is all we know of love.”
– Emily Dickinson
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, so let’s think about love for a few moments. Love – I never cease to be fascinated by it. No matter where we travel around the world, we see it evidenced everywhere.
Especially am I moved by “that look” – that glow that comes but once in life on a woman’s face and in her eyes. That first-time awareness that she is loved totally, that she is his all in all, can be blinding. I saw it once in church. The bride was beautiful in her long white dress – but far more beautiful yet was that glow, that radiance, and the look of utter adoration in her eyes as she saw him waiting there at the altar for her – indeed, it was so intense, I almost felt it a sacrilege to have seen it.
As a long-time professor, I’ve seen it come in so many ways. In fact, once I attempted to capture some of them in a poem:
“Love comes not the same for all;
Circuitous can be its approach.
For some it comes on soft Indian moccasins
So gently not a whisper of moving grass is heard.
Till suddenly you turn – and lo, it is too late.
For some it begins merely as a shared journey,
two among many;
The years pass and they sit side by side
in the carriage,
Together yet alone,
Till one day they discover that the wheel tracks
Have etched their grooves in stone
And no further exits can there be.
For some it dances tantalizing choreography –
Now breathtakingly close, now far away in the mist –
On gossamer wings it flits its erratic way
Till it is captured by the marriage net
There to wither in the noon-day sun.
For some it is born in beauty
So glorious that you cry;
So tender your heart breaks – just to see
Their vain attempts to wall out the world.
For some it is born in hurricane winds
When torrents drown the sun
And lightning spears the sky;
Their Heathcliffian passion inundates and annihilates
whatever bars the way.
No tape or container can measure it;
It cannot be understood or analyzed.
Love can only be
— Or it can cease to be.”
–“Love Comes Not the Same”
–Joseph Leininger Wheeler