Friday, May 28, 2010

You Are in Love

You have had enough experience falling in love with persons, places, things, even concepts to have more or less got the hang of it, to know some of the dynamics involved. (Who really knows all the dynamics, because after all, falling in love means removing existing boundaries.) There is a good deal of power involved; you award large chunks of it to the person, place, thing, or concept you have fallen in love with, perhaps even wondering if you have mortgaged some part of yourself or at least entered into a long term installment arrangement in which you make daily or weekly or monthly payments, somehow scrounging them up from resources you did not know you had.

Some of your associates and close ones have suggested you were too quick to fall in love and indeed, in your earlier years there was undoubtedly an overeagerness on your part, brought about because of your intense desire to experience connections extending beyond the ones you came by as a natural consequence of having been born into a loving family. But over time, things evened out and you began to see a greater value of and less despair in the act of falling in love.

One of the great learning experiences in that regard came from a place: you were and still are hopelessly in love with Los Angeles, the city of your origin and youth as well as the city it has become and is today, sprawling forth in every possible direction, including directions previously thought impossible. You are away from it now, going there only on rare occasion, except that you are there in one way or another in your heart and mind every day, having given considerable power over to its vista points and landmarks. You learn how to love and regard at a distance from such things, to estimate and place a value on experiences that can only be relived in memory, experience the distinct tang of grief at the realization that an old place or an old memory has been built over, changed color or shape or even existence.

Looking back at some of the persons you have loved, you are wrenched into a reality rear-ender, at first fooled or at least dazzled by the degree to which you believe you have become sophisticated. Truth to tell, you still have a crush on such persons; they are a core sampling of who you were then and who you are now and perhaps you are no longer in love with some of them but you are by no means out of love with them, and it means uncounted emotional riches to revisit loving them and the ways in which you loved. Nor are you any the less free of those whom you loved only to have your love unrequited nor, for good measure, those whose love you did not or were not able to return. It is all a dazzle of a calculus because its complexity is expanded by the fact that not all the love was romantic, meaning there were indeed other reasons for you to feel the orbital pull of others, having effect on your own wobbly path through the universe.

You are not alone in making promises to persons you love; it is a language persons of heart and purpose have, a way of communicating with another, of sharing, of hitching a ride on a traveling asteroid that carries your life along with the life of the lover, allowing you the delicious conceit that you are able to control its orbit into another galaxy of experience.

Being in love changes the way you travel; you no longer pack for one nor chose the places where you stop to pee thinking entirely of yourself. You move on a more splendid orbit, occasionally looking backward or forward to make sure the loved one is in sight, aware of the possibility that the movement you now enjoy and take for granted may place you in a different orbit, where you may still love but need to reckon with the need to love at a distance.

Falling in love with a person is experiencing light from a distant star, it is merging into your life the subtle sense that a choice you make, whether it be a word in a story or a sandwich in a Subway or Quiznos was not your entire choice but informed by hers. You may well have finished the story and eaten the sandwich but there would never be that same delicious uncertainty behind it because falling in love is, after all is said and done, a delicious uncertainty, a wrenching open of a portal through which the entire cosmos of connection from another person is invited in. Being in love is a privileged vision of the extraordinary self you are to the person who loves you, a self you had less chance of being until someone fell in love with you.

None of this so far has even considered Sam or Blue or Edward or Jed, much less Molly or Armand, Nell or that intense flare of passionate presence you call Sally. Your chum Barnaby Conrad has said that no story about animals has a happy ending; you would put it even more personally in that they all fucking leave you with memories, but ah, what memories, to inform the way you take on your awareness of your own life, and what companions they are to have influenced your own understanding of what it is you must offer up to those you would befriend. A life without an animal friend is a life not examined for the nuance of satisfaction or the understanding of how to communicate with another being without words.

As you write this, Conrad is being prepped for the biggest adventure of his life--open-heart surgery to replace at least one valve. No wonder he didn't make lunch on Monday or Thursday. No wonder you have the strong focus that life is so much about love and the persons, places, things, and, yes, animals on whom to apply that love in all the special ways that suggest themselves to you from your observation of things about you.

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