I have to admit, I was seriously thinking about doing an Anti-Valentine’s Day post today. Not because I actually hate Valentine’s Day. I don’t. I also don’t really care for the day. Personally, it’s nothing more than another consumeristic holiday that drives people into the stores so they can spend their money on guilt. Not me. Of course, my husband and I treated the kids to a fun dinner-take-out style and I bought each kid a two liter of their favorite soda. So, I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. It’s just not for me.
So, yeah. I was thinking about doing a rant. But too many good things happened in the last twenty-four hours that to do an Anti-Valentine’s Day rant seemed almost too hostile of an emotion to create when I’m not even feeling that emotion. On top of that, everyone else is either doing an Anti-Valentine’s Day rant or they’re writing about how much they love people because it is Valentine’s Day. So that would make me feel like I was just falling into a cliche’ which is against my style.
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about something a dear friend of mine told me. She told me about how her father’s last text before he passed was “The world is beautiful.” I hope she doesn’t mind that I’m writing about this. If you, dear friend of mine, see this and it bothers you, let me know and I’ll take down the post and then treat you to Chick-Fil-A.
My dear friend talked about how meaningful it was that her father, who was dying from cancer still saw intense beauty in the world. As her voice snagged on the edges of painful emotions and gratitude that her father could see the wonders of life despite the agony he was experiencing, I was humbled initially by her voice and then by his words.
I am not a naive person. When I was a young girl, living in Germany (1979), my parents took my brother and me to Dachau. I don’t remember much of the place, but I am still haunted by the feeling of wrongness that existed in every atom there.
On Tuesday, I will be teaching my students about 9/11. Last October (and this up-coming October), I will be teaching my students about child soldiers. I do not hide from the evils that plague this world. I mourn the loss of innocent life and try so hard to show my students the lives that exist just outside of their zip codes.
But, in the end, the world is still beautiful. Even with all the cruelty and inhumanity that lurks in every brilliant place and every tiny shadow, I still choose to see the beauty that inhabits the Earth.
I love the sound of genuine laughter, the kind that peals from my children when they hear something funny or when we are engaged in a tickle-war. I love the sound of my dog snoring on the couch beside me; this is contentment and peace. I love the sound of my husband’s footsteps on the stairs when he is coming to the kitchen for his first cup of coffee. I love the feel of my husband’s arms when he cuddles up against me at night. I don’t care that he has awakened me. I care that he is there and that after twenty years together, we still snuggle.
I love the frost-feathers that grow on the bridge railings over the river Loisach, the river that flows right beside the town where my parents live in Germany six months a year. I love how if I gently run my hand along the edge of the railing, the frost will crumble against the edges of my hands but will eventually grow and reform due to the mist from the river below. I love the sound of the church bells echoing off the mountains, or the sound of the train whistle blasting through the trees.
I love sunrises and sunsets. I love the wind as it dashes through pine trees and sounds like the ocean waves. I love rainbows that appear after the storms or are incredible meteorological phenomena and look like smiles against the heavens.
I love words and how they feel on my tongue when I speak. I love words like “firmament” or “tranquility” or “frog” or “spawn.” I do not love “moist.” I love the f-word but feel bad that I love it because I am a Christian and I don’t know where God stands on the f-word.
I love the rich scent of rain-laden earth on a late spring day. I love how warm soil feels when I am digging into my gardens. I love how dirt tumbles out between my fingers, but I do not love it when I find my cat’s poop mixed in with my soil because that’s just gross. But gross is another word that I love because it can be something nasty in English and big in German.
I love the sound of languages, especially when I get to speak them. I love how my tongue will curl up around the phonemes and the sounds will ricochet off the palate in my mouth and a concept will erupt from me…even if it is something as simple as “Where’s the bathroom?” or “Hi! How are you?” I don’t care. I love words. I love sounds. I love the music of other alphabets.
I love music. I love the rich textuality of sounds mixed together and released as they climb through Italian words that I can’t remember but are so wonderful to read. I love the arch of the notes, the voices of the singers as they weave their voices into the instruments’ tones and everything is unified and separate.
I love bird songs on a spring Saturday morning when I am drinking a cup of coffee while sitting on the porch swing on my front porch.
I love books, how they smell, how they feel.
I love walking through the bundled yards of fabric in a fabric store and letting my hands wash against the textures. I love the feeling of good velvet. I hate silk and satin because it catches on the coarse skin of my callouses that I refuse to remove because they are a sign of my hard work.
I love the bump on my fourth finger on my write hand because that it my writing callous. I love the sound of the keys on my keyboard when my fingers are tapping them. Even now, I love that sound so much, I deliberately hit the keys harder.
I love this blog and the fact that people do read this and respond kindly to what I say. I love that I have a place where I can be myself and strangers welcome this and friends encourage this and I am in a digital place where I fit.
I love humor. I love sadness (I really do…and I’m not being emo). I love the spectrum of emotions that exist within all of us.
“The world is beautiful.”
It is indeed, dear sir. It is indeed.