It's Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day celebrates the Feast of St. Valentine on the Catholic calendar (although apparently, it has been removed from the calendar since so little is actually known about St. Valentine). It is not the day St. Valentine died, but rather the day he was buried. One and the same? Who knows? There appears to be no real reason that St. Valentine, whoever he was, was associated with romantic love, but the period of February 13 to 15, was traditionally the time for a pagan rite associated with fertility. So, in an apparent religious slight-of-hand that we see over and over, the Christian calendar adopts the pagan festivals in an attempt to convert the pagans to Christianity. How Christians becoming more pagan is meant to advance Christianity has always perplexed me. It appears that our association between St. Valentine and romantic love was simply a Victorian invention.
In any event, Valentine's Day is now a secular celebration of love and lovers. Since I have so few of the latter and so much of the former, I thought I'd list my great loves.
the smell of freshly baked bread and tobacco shops.
the sound of bowling alleys and grandfather clocks.
all puppies, most dogs and quite a few cats.
silence and solitude, particularly when outdoors.
a great work of fiction, my definition of which seldom if ever includes literary giants.
beer in the backyard on lazy summer afternoons.
laying in the grass.
camping, and camp fires in particular.
great homemade pizza.
Monte Python skits.
that feeling you get in your stomach when you're about to kiss someone you really like for the first time.
pineapple and grapefruit. Not together. I just like them both.
passing out warm, homemade cinnamon rolls.
flannel pajamas and a warm bed in the winter.
the way barns smell. Of course, that might depend on the kind of barn.
beginning a new adventure.
the first warm day of spring.
hot fudge sundaes
Like the past twelve that preceded it, this Valentine's Day I don't have a lover. No one sent me cards or chocolates or asked me to dinner. But don't feel sorry for me. This isn't a lament and I didn't want to make this a wish list. I find happiness in life despite being alone. I don't need roses or chocolates or cards at all. Love isn't about those things. It's about finding joy in everyday life.
Happy Valentine's Day.