Aw, just make-out why don’t ya…

by tobias crabtree

I’ve had trouble with Valentine’s Day in the past. All the lovers exchanging long-winded smooches in the park. Diamond sales and red roses. Cheesy poetry and chocolate hearts. I’ve always liked April Fools Day way better than V-day. But that’s all just cuz I can be a curmudgeon about lovey dovey stuff. The truth is that love is good, far better than bitterness or disgust or disinterest. And, even though I’m not super into wild, public displays of affection (like make-out sessions in the grocery line), it’s better than fights in the parking lot. And why should I care if someone wants to check out his lovers tonsils right in front of me…if it’s in line at the DMV I might actually like it, since I’m usually bored to tears while waiting for someone to allow me to pay for a sticker that says I own something I already paid for. I’d like to make something clear, this bit of writing is not going to be a downer. I’m not here to hack away at love or lovers; actually, quite the opposite. I’m gonna take this opportunity to say some things about the heart, yes, that thing in your chest that you probably rarely think about. The faithful engine. That very part of you that is essential because it pumps your internal oceans, pushing and pulling, mysteriously functioning even when you sleep, even when you are unconscious, even when you dream. The Heart. It’s become a symbol of love, and so, on this day dedicated to love, I’d like to honor some hearts that I know and have known.

This to my Mom’s heart, that pounded so hard when she brought my heart to bear. That has loved me across the sorrows and worries. That has never once wavered and that lights the eyes of the One that does not know how to be unkind. I wonder how it is that I am so full of fortune to be the son of my mother.

This to my Father’s old choctaw ticker. The Man who found my Ma. That alone sets his heart apart — the one who has always loved and always will love my Mother. And the iron in his blood has built his jaw to suit, Native and spiritual and gifted. I have seen his heart, upside-down, at the top of a ladder in a handstand. His heart is concussive, like the heavy stroke of a Harley. Old lines, true religion, the heart of Father.

This to the hearts of every baby born. Because, at times, I can’t bear humanity (myself included) and I think the world would be better without us, and then I remember the babies. Tiny hearts that still hold the light of the stars and the sounds of the songs of the wheels of the universe. If we can be this, then we can be. We are born with all the secrets and we spend our lives forgetting them. Maybe babies scare you, or you don’t like them for some reason, no matter, they are the purest form of us.

This to the hearts of the forgotten. To the ones shuffling and struggling and remembering when. There are some who’ve outlived everyone that cared, others that never had that in the first place. It might not even be that bad to be forgotten, maybe it’s all the same, but I feel for them and think of them. Perhaps, in some way, compassion can leak into the faltering minds of the elderly and the sick. It can’t hurt to give them a kind thought.

This to the hearts that are oppressed. Because no one should ever tell anyone who and and how to love. And because there are no exceptions to this rule. To the different colored lovers. And to the gals who love gals and the boys who love boys. To the oldest of lovers. To the rich who love the poor. To the lovers who see across the borders. To the lovers who see across the rules. To the lovers who rattle the chains and rise from the ash and allow their hearts to thunder.

This to the hearts that are open. Because this is the only way we will be ok. Rigidity leads to atrophy. Opinions are fine and even important, but our minds are too complex to ever fully agree on everything, so it’s good to give space to move. Hearts are elastic, we should be too.

I’ve been thinking about my friends, the ones who are alive and the ones whose hearts no longer keep count. In my mind they have their spaces. I can animate them and think of them and even hear them speak. I am so very glad to know them and to have known them. I am in awe of the hearts that leap in their chests. Those whose hearts have quieted, those friends that exist now in my memory, are still affecting my life. There’s a rhythm to it all, I’m sure. And every bird overhead, and the dog at my feet, the bees in the rosemary, the lizard with one eye asquint, and somewhere a fox, red and black, under the roots of a cottonwood, sniffing the wind with a button nose, and then somewhere farther a swooshing heart sends tides of blood into boneless limbs and the body of a beast slips through the belly of the sea, and beyond it all is the pulse of the world. All is thunder and wonder. Let’s face it, we are linked, all of us, by these clunking hearts.

And in a rare public display of affection, Happy Valentines Day….I guess.