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True Love

A timeless topic, love is, considered by most to be essential to human survival and one of the things that distinguishes all kinds of relationships. Love has brought together and torn apart soul-mates throughout history and fairy tales. Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and her prince, Beauty and the Beast, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Napoleon and Josephine, Ross and Rachael… (okay, some were more powerful than others). The rest of us deserve a feeling that makes the world stop for a moment, don’t we?

We use the word these days to show enthusiasm for material possessions more often than we mention it to those close to us. Popular culture demonstrates this: famous characters like Carrie Bradshaw and her New York girlfriends discussed sex with people and their love for shoes. Enthusiasm is not to be discouraged, but love should not be made light of, either. One needs to make sure that “love” means making the most of the moment. If one is to use the term. Perhaps that is a theme for the day that commemorates the history of love, to think seriously about how we can honour this essential part of life.

My parents met on Valentines’ Day, so I might have a biased opinion on the notion of romance. They would have romantic dinners and breakfast in bed. They would give each other cards, “just because”. There were lovely gifts, and sticky notes, and much laughter and love. They would dance in the kitchen and kiss in the hall. They were serious about loving each other.

My parents on their 13th anniversary, before heading off to a romantic dinner...

I am happy that many of my childhood memories about romance have become part of my romantic life. I was fortunate enough to marry a chef, so decadent things like chocolate desserts are not lacking in my life. We love to dance together any chance we get. Every time I go away – to Girl Guide camp, or on a business trip – there are sticky notes with love messages in my suitcase.

I love my husband, and I know he loves me. We do both love food, and music. All the usual suspects will be a part of our Valentines’ Day festivities. Not because we want to support a commercial holiday, but rather because we never want to waste an opportunity to celebrate our love. As Winnie the Pooh liked to say, “It’s better with two”.

I wish everyone the chance to be happy in love. May this saint’s day inspire you to let your heart speak its mind.


February seems to be the month when we most need a bit of love, at least in this hemisphere. It’s cold and grey, it’s in between holidays so the only bit of celebration is for sports fans when the Superbowl happens. Once that first weekend is over, we’re stuck in the doldrums again. Many of us eschew the sugary sweet version of Valentines’ Day that now exists, refusing to participate in the commercial event that turns romance into a Hallmark movie. But if you are one of these purists looking to survive the dead of winter, how do you manage? I have a suggestion…

How about embracing the silence? Why not just enjoy a bit of quiet beauty? A bit of mediation, perhaps even a few positive thoughts?? Whether this is a solitary activity or one shared with your soul mate, it is one that may get you through the darkness to the other side. Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s darkest before the dawn”? Enlightenment may come from taking time to pause and listen.

I think this reasoning can work with many different pastimes, as well.  My exercise plan in February always seems to end up being simple – but that’s better than nothing, right? Long walks with the dogs at twilight are refreshing not just because of the crisp air. We all enjoy clearing the cobwebs from the day, and the silence that comes this time of year around Rabbit Hollow wraps me like a blanket.

from Roger McCallum

This year, with the changing weather, we have had Canada geese circle at dusk every night, heralding the darkness like trumpeters announcing a proclamation.

This week has had us shrouded in fog, with frost thick on the trees. Shades of grey are all that remains, like an old photo that captured a long ago memory. I feel as though time has stopped as I wander the field with my thoughts. It is my time to sort through everything and file it away. Once spring comes, colours and sounds and aromas all compete for my attention and I never seem to get that same quiet time.

I couldn’t live in this year round – it would suck all the energy from me I think, like it sucks the colour out. But for a little while, it’s like time at a monastery or on a mountaintop. You can take stock of things, and then move forward.

Even the food I eat this time of year seems to have clear flavours. We jazz things up with a bit of Cajun spice now and then, and we eat a bit of Asian stir fry and curry – all of them have many ingredients, but the theme is very clear and intense (like the stark nature of the landscape).

Perhaps this comes from living more in the country. For a long time now, we have been away from the hustle and bustle of a big city for our everyday existence. Before the comforts of Rabbit Hollow among the orchards and vineyards and overlooking Okanagan Lake we were in Charlevoix, up the St.Lawrence River. Before that we lived in Banff, along a creek bed and the edge of the Banff Springs golf course, where elk and wolves played. We have been spoiled with the wonders of nature. Simon, our German Shorthaired Pointer, has never lived in a fenced yard. Would it be easier to handle the weirdness of February if we lived somewhere more urban? I would love to hear your opinions.

As for the theme of romance which is supposed to save us from oblivion in the dead of winter?

Romance, by lardacil, from DeviantArt

Well, I believe that romance, like most things, needs sustenance year round to survive. So, how about a chocolate dessert just because it’s Tuesday? How about a sexy outfit on a date night with your sweetheart just because you had a good hair day? (You might as well make the most of it!) Life is short, and it is meant to be enjoyed. Let yourself be swept away in the moment… any moment.

In case you need encouragement, I have posted a recipe for Lemon Pudding Cake. You can be intimate and share from a big dish, or you can let everyone have their own space and make it in ramekins.

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