Wednesday, February 11, 2004

thoughtlife: where is the love?

Happyland is writing a series about love, in time for Valentine's.

Ah, love. So much has been written about it and it has been the object of rumination, song, prose, parody and everything else. It has been dissected, analyzed, inspired philosophies, condemned untold hundreds and given much more a kind of lasting peace.

In my teens, love was about the "ooh" and "ahh" of things. The thumpthumping of my heart when the object of my adoration was nearby, the stirring of my loins when opportunities for sex were presented (or created). It was about fantasy, living for the moment and the next few seconds or painful days of anticipation until the next encounter with the beloved. Love, if what I felt could be truly called love, was about heat and moments and passion and timing and imagination and eros. It did not think about the far future, was afraid of commitment, and experimented madly.

In my twenties, love was about the "oh" and "ah" of things. Walking down the wedding aisle as my heart provided a countertempo to the music, saying "I do" to the woman who found my seal skin. It was about the boundaries of union, seeing how far two can go, pushing the orientation of paired intimacy in novel directions - but always always always coming home to the comfort of a trusted partnership. Love, and it was (and is) love, made itself evident in setting up a household, discovering unplumbed depths of mind and spirit and body, and heat and moments and passion and timing and imagination and eros in a more art-directed, director's-cut, for-mature-audiences-only manner. It thought about the future and made plans while living squarely in the present.

Now, in the exact middle of my thirties, love is about the "ohh" and "ahh" again. Becoming a father to a little baby who is grwoing up so swiftly, engaging me in a staredown/clash of wills, riding on my shoulders and kissing me awake. It is about how my heart learned that love is not finite, that I had space for more than one girl. It is about learning lovingkindness and loving patience. With my wife, it is about the absolute trust in silences, utter longing during absences, and sharing the everyday pattern of parents, lovers and best friends. It is less about heat but rather calculated flashes; less of moments than expanded hours; joie d'vivre intregrating with ardor's passion; creating oases of solitude, timed to regenerate sanity; a broader, more responsible imagination in terms of making things real; and erotic variations the young, in their haste for orgasm, cannot possibly comprehend. It thinks about the future, remembers the past but as always lives in the today.

What will my forties bring? My fifties? My sixties?

From my pattern of thinking and behavior, I can make educated guesses. But I hope that love, specifically my two great loves, will always be there.


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