I never realized that Valentine's Day is the second most celebrated holiday after New Year's Day and it was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages. It was Chaucer's poetry that first sparked the romantic connotations. He is considered one of the great English poets and is buried in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey. Wow, because of those early Hallmark moments, lovers for the last 600 years have expressed their love by giving flowers, sweets and sending cards. Having seen the Ellesmere Chaucer at the Huntington Library in California a couple of years ago, which is a gorgeous, elaborately decorated manuscript of his Centerbury Tales that was created between 1400 and 1405, I can see how the romance blossomed. Out of all the artifacts in that room, this book had me entranced. It is absolutely marvelous and to see a work that old, and preserved so well, was worth the price of admission.
Digging deeper into the Valentine's Day lore, I found that numerous Christian martyrs were named Valentine and February 14th is the day to honor them all. One was a priest martyred about 269 AD and buried in on the Via Flaminia in Rome. In all my visits to Rome I never saw the flower crowned decorated skull of St. Valentine which is exhibited in a side alter of the 8th century Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Another is Valentine of Terni, martyred in 197 AD and the last Valentine is said to have been martyred in Africa with a number of companions. I guess on my next visit to the eternal city I'll have to seek out these newest travel destinations.
It is interesting that Valentine's Day is associated with, and derived from murder and death. What does "martyred" have to do with love?
Finding love can be elusive. It can hide, or be hidden in plain sight, and the secret is to know where it is. Look and you'll see that the most special is the love of your parents followed closely by the love of your children. We sacrifice and give so much for that love and it is rewarding when the person you are helping, says they love you too. A word of advice, never take that love for granted for it can be gone in a heartbeat. Three words: "I love you" can move mountains.
After a few years of being divorced, I was fortunate to find love and companionship, and I'm the happiest I've ever been with Tracy. He brought love, laughter, sailing, peace and harmony to my life. He told me when we met, that life with him would never be dull or boring and he was correct. He has shared his world with me and I've shared mine. We are probably as different as night and day: I would say Venus and Mars really, but it is an exciting life I treasure and appreciate.
On one of our adventures last fall up north, I nearly tripped on these rocks and when I looked down and saw the "I Love You" written with stones I had to photograph it. We visited this same spot several years earlier and this was under water! Sadly, our Great Lakes are at their lowest levels in over 40 years.
As my husband said as he read this post: "I don't need a special day to express my love for you. I do it everyday." Yes, he does.
i carry your heart with me ( i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
On a Metropolitan Detroit note: We have a Valentine here. Rifino Valentine locally produces "Valentine Vodka." It is wonderful.
(Not affiliated with Mr. Valentine at all, just like to promote my fair city and state!)
Fun facts come from wikipedia
Image taken with a Nikon D800
© Santa Fabio
Detroit People & Commercial Photographer