Most people think of love as a concept – an intangible element that we spend our lives searching for, grasping like grains of sand but rarely holding tightly enough to fully experience. Some people even believe it’s a myth – a poor attempt to place a label on excuses for human inadequacies.
I say love is something you can see, almost everywhere, once you put reason in the trunk and allow whimsical to ride shotgun. It’s physical and metaphorical, apparent and incalculable, subtle yet smothering. Right now, where you sit, look and you’ll see it.
Love is the sweat dripping from a father’s forehead as he tightens the chain on his daughter’s bike. It’s the tension in the muscles of a hand holding a pick over the strings of Stratocaster illuminated by flood lights and vibrating from twenty thousand screams. It is the water drawn 300 feet in the air by a redwood tree.
Love is the smacking sound of an old man’s lips as he sips his morning coffee and the smile on an old woman’s face as she takes the compliment. It is a teacher rubbing her eyes so they will function after midnight as she grades her student’s work, the record sprint of a child from the bus to the lap of her mom, the tightness of the hug between the two, and the electromagnetic force behind the piece of rubber holding the paper with a big red “A+” on it to the refrigerator.
Love lives at that exact point at which an artist’s brush makes contact with the canvas. It jumps off a puppy’s wet nose, goes through a child’s face into his blood, and straight to his heart, and love softens the rough handle of a shovel when the family pet is buried. Love pushes the atmosphere out of the way of sound waves created by every blues song, and feeds off the embrace of couples on the dance floor.
Love follows tears down faces that cry and follows the edge of the moth up faces that laugh. It follows wave to the beach and sunsets out to sea. It is the stitching that holds together the quilt your grandmother made that lays folded on the back of the chair in the corner, and the neck tie from your son in your closet that doesn’t match anything.
Love tugs at the hands of people in hospital waiting rooms and makes the slides on playgrounds slicker. It is the thing that brings people to your house unannounced. It is a losing player offering a handshake to the winner after a football game and scabs on his arms and legs when he tries harder the next week. Love has never gone to war but has never left the side those affected by it.
Love is that is those things, and love is the feeling over your entire body at the exact moment you realize that all is this is true.