I've read Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet many, many times. He writes a letter about love in which he warns that young people do not yet know how to love. They smash themselves against one another, and in the collision, break themselves to pieces.
I find myself thinking about this as I approach my sixth anniversary.
I have gone through so many transitions when it comes to things I believe. Though I am still young, I remember that when I was even younger I was troubled by these transitions. I felt like I was not being true to myself if I was constantly changing my mind. I believe it was my father who pointed out to me that I was changing my mind because I had acquired new evidence. Thus, I was not being fickle. I was being reflective. And it is good to be reflective, because it is through reflection that one determines whether one's practices are useful, meaningful or good.
I appreciate transitions much more now. I recognize that if I have reached a point of transition, it is because I have learned something important I could not fully comprehend or synthesize before.
Today, I'm thinking about love.
Originally, I thought of love as urgent, desperate, wild passion that pushed back the raging dark. Love to me was a barrier, the last white, great flame that would surround me when I felt certain that I would dissolve. Love was intense and it was its intensity that I craved. What I longed for, more than anything else, was to be thrown high upon crested waters, riding waves that would buoy me up when I felt I might be falling.
And there is power to that love. I won't deny it.
But the love one needs to fight back the dark is not love in its deepest form. One might say it is the very tip of the jutting iceberg, clear and understandable even as an adolescent. This is the love that cuts, burns, grinds down, sparks, careens, swoops and buffets.
This is not the love I feel now.
My current love is a steady, nurtured emotion. It is one I have tended. I have watered it like a plant, exposed it to sunlight and made sure the soil is loamy, rich and thick. It is a deep, deep feeling, and it pulses so faintly that I am not always aware of it. It is like my breath. It comes steadily, easily, so much a part of me that I forget it. Except, of course, for those times I pause to concentrate on it. This is the love that forms when people have seen one another, broken and whole, and recognize the beauty in the person seated before them. This is a quiet love, a forever love, the rope that is forged strand by strand, carefully, slowly woven together to form Gleipnir.
There is still passion. I can leap and twirl and dance and know his hand is outstretched, ready to clasp mine. I can feel sunbursts of joy exploding in my chest. The dark is still held back, but this time, it's not because of him. It's because of me.
The world is a very large place and we are but two people in it.
The world is a very large place but we are two people in it.
We are the children in a storybook, his hand pressed in mine. A sun sinks beneath the earth in a conflagration of orange, indigo and red. We watch, transfixed.
I turn. I lean against his side.
"Let's walk," I say.
He nods. "That way," he points.
We find each other in the journey.