"I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight."
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Life is noisy and messy and chaotic. Love shouldn't be. It is in the stillness we find the rhythm of true love. In the quiet, a cadence shared. A hushed concert known only to two.
If you're looking for that perfect quiet to share with someone you love this week, try these ideas:
A Walk in the Snow
If you live in a cold climate this time of year, snow captures a poignant stillness in ways few things in nature can. Select a destination spot with plenty of snow. Ahead of time, make the trek and write your Valentine a message in the snow. Red spray paint works well, but an environmentally-friendly alternative could be strong Kool-aid or food coloring in a squeeze bottle. Be sure to bring a blanket and thermos of your Valentine's favorite hot drink on your journey together.
Look to History and Nature
Every place on Earth has romantic settings: lighthouses, beaches, secluded riverbanks, turn-of-the-century churches, abandoned barns, docks, rowboats, small town train depots. Anywhere love was found and lost in history already carries an imprint that has survived through time. Anywhere nature breathes couples can reclaim our own breath, together. Pack a secret stash of quiet items to enhance the setting: a candle, a blanket, a meal shared, a love letter.
Write a love message to your Valentine on the glass shower door using Rain-X Anti-Fog. Let them discover it in a quiet moment of solitude.
Love LettersIf you do anything romantic this Valentine's Day, let it be to skip the commercialized Valentine aisles and cards that belt out songs. Love letters are quiet, crafted in moments of great attention to your Valentine. For the $4 you'd spend on a glittery For-My-Spouse-Hallmark, you can sneak into the craft store and buy a single sheet of extravagant paper and enough inspiration materials to give the letter a tiny, but memorable personalization.
Straight from the heart ensures a perfect message, but it's okay to lean on the great writers of the past. Instead of hitting the hundred and one quotation sites on the internet, find inspiration in the love letters written by famous writers to their lovers. Focus on the things about your Valentine that do not change over time. Likely, they're aware their eyes and lips may not have the same allure they once had. How much more powerful it is to hear someone loves you for the things they remember when they close their eyes.
Voyeuristic as it seems, here's some inspiration to start St. Valentine's week: a letter from author Jack London to the love of his life, Charmian Kittredge.
Thursday, September 24, 1903
Nay, nay, dear Love, not in my eyes is this love of ours a small and impotent thing. It is the greatest and most powerful thing in the world. The relativity of things makes it so. That I should be glad to live for you or to die for you is proof in itself that it means more to me than life or death, is greater, far greater, than life or death.
That you should be the one woman to me of all women; that my hunger for you should be greater than any hunger for food I have ever felt; that my desire for you should bite harder than any other desire I have ever felt for fame and fortune and such things;-all, all goes to show how big is this, our love.
As I tell you repeatedly, you cannot possibly know what you mean to me. The days I do not see you are merely so many obstacles to be got over somehow before I see you. Each night as I go to bed I sigh with relief because I am one day nearer to you. So it has been this week, and it is only Monday that I was with you. Today I am jubilant, my work goes well. And I am saying to myself all the time, "Tonight I shall see her! Tonight I shall see her!"
My thoughts are upon you always, lingering over you always, caressing you always in a myriad of ways. I wonder if you feel those caresses sometimes!
Ah Love, it looms large. It wills my whole horizon. Wherever I look I feel you, see you, touch you, and know my need for you...I love you, you only and wholly...I clutch for you like a miser for his gold, because you are everything and the only thing.
I know I am 27, at the high-tide of my life and vigor. [I write these words] to show how large to me, in the scheme of life, bulks this love of ours.
And from Mark Twain to his future wife, Olivia Langdon:
May 12, 1869
Out of the depths of my happy heart wells a great tide of love and prayer for this priceless treasure that is confided to my life-long keeping.
You cannot see its intangible waves as they flow toward you, darling, but in these lines you will hear, as if it were, the distant beating of its surf.
Even an old curmudgeon like Mark Twain appears to be from his writings is capable of aching tenderness.
Tomorrow: But I Need to Wrap Something