Sunday, September 2, 2012
What Is This Thing Called Love
A love that can last forever takes but a second to come about.
Isn't it amazing how quickly we can fall in love with something or someone. It often only takes a moment in time but it seems like the spinning of a world. There is something that catches a hold of a deep sinew of our mental or emotional being and plants itself there for good.
You may see a work of art, a painting, and there is something special about it that sets it apart from all the other paintings you've seen or maybe are in the same room. You may not be able to describe what it is about the work that makes it special to you but you know in your heart that it is something forever important to you.
It happened to me when I saw the Matisse painting "The Piano Lesson." The Museum of Modern Art in New York City was being renovated. While it was going on they mounted an exhibit in a room off the service elevator. It was of a few of their pieces. I went strolling around in there, everything was hung temporarily on peg board. I turned a corner and there it was. "The Piano Lesson." I spent a long time with it. I knew that among all the millions of art works in the world, most of which I will never see, this was my favorite. A critic might say that it isn't even great Matisse, but for me it's a love affair.
You may one day hear a snatch of music that has the same effect on you and in one instant you become in love with the whole piece. Sure, you will listen to it over and over again just to hear that one passage, but you will have expanded your love to include the entire work.
I became an opera lover at an early age when I heard the wonderful sextet that concludes the first act of "The Barber Of Seville." And when I heard the rich pandemonium that ends the second act of "Die Meistersinger" I became a Wagner lover. I can't get enough of it.
Shakespeare? I have a complete works, poems and plays . I never let it out of my sight. Shakespeare loved all of his characters and so do I.
I know of people who will carry the same novel around in their pockets or hand bags wherever they go because it is so important to them. That one book deeply touches their heart and soul. Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" was my constant companion for many years.
And what about other people? What about love at first sight? It happens. I know of a happily married couple who met each other on the subway. What is it that enables someone to grab your heart so completely all at once? You may meet them once and then you will meet them again because a golden thread has been woven that ties the two of you together. You have been thinking about each other, maybe without even knowing it.
I love that scene in "All In The Family" when the character played by Jean Stapleton says that when she was a girl the boys called her all kinds of fancy names but that somehow the name Ding Bat had an air of permanence about it.
Love is one of the strangest things of all. I have friends I've known for many years. I love them. I also have some new friends of a few years. I love them. But like the Matisse painting and the Wagner operas I don't think I could ever tell you why.
As Diane Ackerman puts it "Everyone admits that love is wonderful and necessary, but no one agrees on just what it is."
If you ever figure it out let me know.
Dana Bate - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up