A couple of years ago Mark bought me 12 bags of Steer Manure (bullshit) for Valentine’s day and I couldn’t have been happier.
I’d had dreams of planting a hedgerow in the backyard, so we couldn’t see into the neighbors. It’s quite a big space though, so budget only allowed for small hedge plants. Yet there is no greater love than a wee hedge plant has for steer manure. It is a horticultural Dr Zhivago, and now my hedgerow dream is a reality.
I used to dread this week as a teenager. I didn’t want cards, but I did. And the boys I wanted to send me cards were never card sending type. And the boys who would have sent me a card, were definitely not my type. Waking up on Valentine’s morning to a card -blatantly sent from my Mum - I'd feel I was a failure.
Now, as someone whose been married more than 20 years, I tend to view Valentine’s day as a bit of a pain in the arse. One of the greatest gifts in finding who you want to live your life with, is that you get to tell them you love them any time you want.
As I see the heart shaped cards appearing in the stores, almost the day after Christmas, I’ve grown to suspect Valentines day is primarily made to boost the profits of cheesy card makers, and to antagonize single people .
Here in the US kids are encouraged to send everybody in their class a Valentine. I like that. Everybody has a right to feel they matter.
And real love isn’t all hearts and flowers. Sometimes it’s frankly brutal.
My eldest had a convulsion when he was three years old. I still remember watching the body of this tiny little human and thinking I would give my life for him, right there and then, if only he could be ok again.
I know thats love. But I doubt you’ll find it written in rhyming form on the inside of a card of a cat playing a banjo.
I’d like to put it out there that love isn’t stationary dependent. Sometimes those we really love can’t show us they love us back. Sometimes because they’re not capable. Sometimes they don’t want to. Sometimes because they’re no longer here. (I would love to wake up to one of those Valentine cards blatantly from my Mum now, but that’s not going to happen.)
If Valentine's day is obligatory, I would wish for it to celebrate the existence of love. It could be a reminder that in a world that is increasingly difficult, love exists not just in heart shapes, but in all different shapes. Maybe it’s a bit like pollen. It's in the air. Sometimes you're really affected by it. Sometimes you barely notice it at all. But without it, we'd not last long.
Big fat beautiful love. Dolloped right in the middle of all that is. Hidden amongst yearning and sorrow and fear. Bold and brilliant. Hanging out with its best pal, Hope.
Starting Notes From The Valley was about love. I used to call my Mum every Sunday. Now she’s gone, I send a note out into the Universe instead. In reading the note, you connect back - some of you mad, crazy kids even listen to my recordings - and for me, there is healing. I’m not suggesting we all set up house any time soon, but it’s like a tiny bit of pollen.
So, consider this my Valentine, wherever you may be. In gratitude for you being you, I am sending you a virtual version of the best Valentine’s present I ever received. 12 bags of Prime Steer Manure. May whatever dream you want to plant, grow magnificently.
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