J’aime des fleurs—I Love Flowers (inspired by Guy de Maupassant’s 1886 short story, Un Cas de divorce) – Vintage gold metal floral-patterned frame; custom cut double mat; a dozen dried white roses; various dried flowers, dried leaves; dried lily pod; colour print of dried white roses; hand-tinted print of a vintage photograph of a mummy from the Capuchin catacombs, Palermo, Italy
When love is not madness, it is not love
Thus the Spanish poet and playwright, Pedro Calderon de la Barca, wrote over four hundred years ago, and things haven’t changed much, have they?
We humans are a strange lot, especially when it comes to love.
Love crazy, that’s what we are.
Right from the get-go we’re lost—we fall in love.
So, did we jump, did we trip, or were we pushed?
Just think about all of the glorious miseries love creates; getting up enough guts to ask that special someone you’ve met out, then comes that age old question, do you kiss on the first date or not? Then comes the anguished wait by the phone (oops, sorry, kids, but I hate to tell you this, but there was time when a telephone was screwed to the kitchen wall or plugged in behind the bedroom night table, the cord only reaching so far, so maybe, to bring myself up to date, I should say—then comes the anguished wait for that special someone to email, or text, or Tweet.) Then comes the haunting self-doubt—what’s the matter with me? Why aren’t they calling? Then that haunting self-doubt becomes anger—what, do they think they’re too good for me? Well, I wouldn’t go out with them again even if they were the last…
There goes the phone or there’s the Tweet, and all that’s forgotten. Inside we swoon, and all’s right with the world.
Like the old adage says, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…
Then comes every December 25th when we run ourselves ragged in crowded shopping malls, going into hock, just to find the right gift to prove our love for that special someone only to realize that those pearl earrings or diamond ring, that flat screen TV or latest iPad doesn’t amount to a hill of beans come February 14th—or that next birthday, or that next anniversary, or next Easter, Halloween, or Arbor Day.
Reflect on literature and the silver screen’s most famous doomed romances—Antony and Cleopatra, Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot and Guinevere, Romeo and Juliet, Rhett and Scarlett, Oliver and Jennifer, Jack and Ennis.
Next stop a moment to mull over all those murder/suicides you hear about—if I can’t have you, nobody can!
Then there’s all those poems, those songs, those novels, those plays, those movies, those television shows, all about just how nuts is love.
And lastly ruminate, if you will, over how abused the word “love” really is.
I “love” chocolate. Oh, I just “love” that dress! I “love” my dog, my cat, my ferret, my budgerigar. I “love” New York. I “love” Paris in the springtime, I “love” Paris in the fall. I “love” rock ‘n roll…
I Love Lucy…
Yup, we’re love crazy.
Need a better example?
Okay, here goes…
French courts, in the late nineteenth-century.
A young woman’s advocate is presenting her case for divorce.
Her’s the typical story—wooed, courted, married; she happy, he…well, therein lies the tale.
Seems that her beau at first idolized the ground she walked on, but then when that beau became hubby…
…then he really idolized the ground she walked on.
His ardor turned to disgust. The human mating ritual repulsed, and hubby fell in love with another.
But that’s an old story, I hear you saying. True…but here comes the kicker.
The other the hubby has fallen for?
A flower of beauty.
A real flower of beauty.
Perhaps I should let the young man speak for himself:
“Flowers alone, which smell so sweet, those large flowers, glittering or pale, whose tones and shades make my heart tremble and trouble my eyes. They are so beautiful, their structure is so finished, so varied and sensual, semi-opened like human organs, more tempting than mouths, and streaked with turned up lips, teeth, flesh, seed of life powders, which, in each, gives forth a distinct perfume…
I love flowers, not as flowers, but as material and delicious beings; I pass my days and my nights in beds of flowers, where they have been concealed from the public view like the women of a harem.
My heart palpitates, my eyes flash at the sight of them; my blood rushes through my veins, my soul is elated, and my hands tremble from desire as soon as I touch them…
How healthy, strong and rosy, a rosiness that moistens the lips of desire! How I love them! The border is frizzled, paler than their throat, where the corolla hides itself away; a mysterious mouth, seductive sugar under the tongue, exhibiting and unveiling the delicate, admirable and sacred organs of these divine little creatures which smell so exquisitely and…”
That’s quite enough of that, thank you.
I think we get the point.
So, like I said, we’re love crazy—and on that note I think I’ll let good ol’ Sigmund Freud have the last word:
"One is very crazy when in love."
That’s what he said…
…and he should know, right?
Oh, and before we part, a word in your ear, dear…if you’re presented with a bouquet of roses this holiday…
…don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!