What is Love?

I suspect many of us have spent our whole lives moping about crooning, “Where is love?” rather than asking, “What is Love?”  Just what exactly am I searching for? Waiting for? Languishing without? What is love?

“Love is not love  which alters when it alteration finds

In light of that definition have I ever been loved?  Have you?  In a Shakespearian way?  Exactly what does he mean?  Does he mean the love is so strong it does not go away when it finds a blemish, an alteration in the beloved?  Or does he mean love does not try to change or alter the beloved when it spies something out of the ordinary?

Love is patient, love is kind,  it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not…”

Why is it easier to discern what is NOT love, than to state clearly what is?

Here’s a bit of tuneful wisdom from Older Ladies by Donnalou Stevens.

Are there any age limits on love?  Is it only for the young?

Lana Del Ray sings, Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?

I particularly like the phrase, “I know you will, I know you will, I know that you will.” I have to admit, no.  I have never been loved that securely. Yes.  There are those who have said they loved me, but, you know, alterations.

I wonder; does familiarity breed contempt?  Is the idealistic pure and chaste from afar the only guarantee? After all, as long as love remains unrequited, you alone may chose to remain true, without the responsibilities or constraints of a mutual relationship.  Is consummation the death knell for love and interest? Do you agree with Elizabeth Bennet that one good sonnet will kill off love?

What does it profit you to play hard to get right up to the alter – and then lose his love only because you secured him?

Jane Austen tends to write heroes and heroines who continue to love tenaciously against all odds.  But is everlasting love an old idea limited to 18th century novels?

Do not discount the fidelity of today’s young.  Though old, I am privileged to have friends in their 20s. Some, though young and worldly, would never cheat.  That would not be love. One loves strong enough to carry a torch for a lifetime, with or without a resolution. Another 20-something of my acquaintance is fated to be in love with someone already taken – yes, married, and yet chooses to remain honorably silent.  While you can neither suppress or conjure feelings of love, you can choose your actions.

My fate is of a different nature altogether.  Have I ever really loved?

There were times I began to love. Something got in the way.

I fear that if love is freely given, it can be freely taken away. So I panic and grasp and rush to people pleasing – to codependence – to insure that doesn’t happen.  Guess what?  It dies on me. Either I smother the beloved, or I burn myself out. That is not love. But what is?

Wherein the ranger was right

I said: I would love to go to Rattlesnake Arches.  It is on my bucket list.  I’ve been trying to find someone to go out there with me

She said:  I learned a long time ago, if you wait for someone to go with you, there are places you will never go.

Seeing the arches solo
Seeing the arches solo

I said: There is a field of sego lilies on top Black Ridge.

He said: The largest variety of flowers may be seen on Lower Liberty Cap Trail.

I said: Nah.  You’re kidding.  Out in that long barren stretch at the beginning of the trail?

A selection of wildflowers along Lower Liberty Cap Trail
A selection of wildflowers along Lower Liberty Cap Trail

I said: I finally got a helmet and am learning to ride a bicycle again.

He said:  That’s the spirit.  Soon we will have you running, too.

I said: I don’t aspire to run. I am quite content to hike at my own pace.  I don’t particularly like being sweaty and thirsty.

Funny thing, a couple weeks ago I caught myself running through some low places, some less scenic areas of trail for no apparent reason but boredom, exhilaration or getting there more quickly. It is happening with frequency.

Three different rangers.  Three instances in which the ranger was right and I was pleasantly surprised.