Monday, February 13, 2006

Love Is In The Air

Today is a day where emotions take over. Love, passion, and even panic.

For some it is a day to express their love openly while for others it is a time to panic when they realize they left it for the last minute and they can't get a reservation at their sweetie's favorite restaurant. Anyone in a relationship knows Valentine's Day can be a bit of a challenge. What does my significant other have planned and can I match it? It should not come down to this. Valentine's Day should be just another day that you can show the special people in your life how important they are to you. No need to run out to the mall and max out your credit card; just show them how much they mean to you. A phone call, a hug, a hand written letter instead of an email, all of these will make a lasting impression without breaking the bank. Your expressions of love should come from the heart, not the wallet.

Now that you have that under control, take a look at the history of the valentine and the origins of Valentine's Day.

It seems there are many "origins" and the one I fancy is the European belief that on February 14th the birds began to choose their mates. In fact Chaucer, in his "Parlement of Foules," wrote: "For this was Seynt Valentine's Day when every foul cometh ther to choose his mate."

The poet, Michael Drayton (1563-1631), wrote verses entitled "To His Valentine," in which he expressed the idea of the birds' mating on St. Valentine's Day:

Each little bird this tide
Doth choose her beloved peer,
Which constantly abide
In wedlock all the year.

One of my favorites is by John Donne as it illustrates the pure passion of nature:

Hail Bishop Valentine! whose day this is;
All the air is thy diocese,
And all the chirping choristers
And other birds are thy parishioners:
Thou marryest ever year
The lyric lark and the grave whispering dove;
The sparrow that neglects his life for love,
The household bird with the red stomarcher;
Thous mak'st the blackbird speed as soon,
As doth the goldfinch or the halcyon . . .
This day more cheerfully than ever shine,
This day which might inflame thyself, old Valentine!
I think the birds have the right idea. They go with what is natural and lift up their voices in celebration of their love. No fancy cards, no flowers, no diamonds - just pure love.

When I think of Valentine's Day I think of all the special people in my life and how lucky I am to be surrounded by so much love. For other people Saint Valentine's Day marks the anniversary of the infamous massacre that took place on February 14, 1929 at the S-M-C Cartage Company on 2122 North Clark Street in Chicago.

I hope that you and yours have pleasant memories of Valentine's Day and you create some new ones today.

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