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A love project

The intensity of color at the end of the season. (In the scrounger’s/flower garden a couple of days ago.  The zinnias are still going strong, the new blooming and replacing the old.)

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

~ e. e. cummings

Don’t forget love;

it will bring all the madness you need

to unfurl yourself across

the universe.

~ Mirabai

Back on the Balsam Fir Trail (Blackwater Falls State Park, WV).

I have been questioning lately, wondering about, love.  What is it?  I think I know but the question arises: Do I really?  Here is what I found at about love:

Old English lufu “feeling of love; romantic sexual attraction; affection; friendliness; the love of God; Love as an abstraction or personification,” from Proto-Germanic *lubo (source also of Old High German liubi “joy,” German Liebe “love;” Old Norse, Old Frisian, Dutch lof; German Lob “praise;” Old Saxon liof, Old Frisian liaf, Dutch lief, Old High German liob, German lieb, Gothic liufs “dear, beloved”). The Germanic words are from PIE root *leubh- “to care, desire, love.”

The weakened sense “liking, fondness” was in Old English. Meaning “a beloved person” is from early 13c. The sense “no score” (in tennis, etc.) is 1742, from the notion of playing for love (1670s), that is, for no stakes. Phrase for love or money “for anything” is attested from 1580s. The phrase no love lost (between two people) is ambiguous and was used 17c. in reference to two who love each other well (c. 1640) as well as two who have no liking for each other (1620s, the usual modern sense).

To fall in love is attested from early 15c.; to be in love with (someone) is from c. 1500. To make love is from 1570s in the sense “pay amorous attention to;” as a euphemism for “have sex,” it is attested from c. 1950. Love affair “a particular experience of love” is from 1590s. Love life “one’s collective amorous activities” is from 1919, originally a term in psychological jargon. Love beads is from 1968. Love bug, imaginary insect, is from 1883. Love-handles “the fat on one’s sides” is by 1967.

Looking at lichens with the Wookie, and then leaving what we found.

My original question about love was really about how to love, deeply love, and it was, I thought, rhetorical.  But maybe it was a real question about vulnerability or about openness and intimacy and how do we take down the walls we built to protect ourselves?  Those of you who have been here for a while might know that I’ve been asking this question for a while.  If there are answers, they change with time and experience, and that brings the question back around again for another exploration.

We hiked far enough to find the color.

Maybe the question I’m digging into is more along the lines of this:  How do we learn to love the world?  Not just bits of it, but all of it.

I’m exhausted by the polarization or tribalism or whatever the word of the day happens to be.  Maybe it’s time to give up my hardness towards “the other side” and learn to live with the fact that people are going to be who they are.  It’s built into the design and that is as it should be.  I did give up trying to change opinions or correct misinformation, and that was a goodly amount of weight to drop.  Maybe it’s time to go through Valarie Kaur’s Revolutionary Love Learning Hub again (you might remember it as The People’s Inauguration that I participated in way back in January) and once again learn to see others as a part of me I do not yet know.

Pops of color on a rainy day.

I was drawn to the definition of love affair in the blurb I posted above.  “A particular experience of love.”  Several years ago a good friend decided she was going to spend a year having a love affair with herself.  What a fascinating experiment and experience, to start with self, to begin at the beginning.  I think most of us spend a lot of time trying to start from the middle, perhaps so we can get to the end.

It is easy to love the trees.

Having wondered and asked about love, it’s become an assignment of sorts.  A love project.  A box or container or a journal in which to put my notes and experiences and thoughts and questions.  It occurs to me as I write up this blog post that my photos are, in a way, a container for my love of nature.

So many colors in just this one spot.

If I recall correctly (and I might not), the word Love was once my word or theme for the year.  I normally don’t take that on until the Winter Solstice but there are no rules.  Why not use the same word again and why not start now?  Life is short, time flies, and there is no time like the present.

Sometimes you’re just too tired to go on without a little help.

We are learning about the Sanskrit word atha in the Yoga Sutras class.  It is the first word of the first book of the Sutras.  Within the many meanings, “life is short, time flies, and there is no time like the present” seems to fit.  Atha is often translated as “now” as in “be here now.”  There is, of course, more to it than that, but “now” is a start.  “Now” that I have done some preparation, I  am ready to start from yet another beginning.  Love, I believe, is a good place to begin.

Finding reds.

Thank you so much for visiting and taking a little hike with me in West Virginia and the recent past.  I think we might be hiking there for a while in my blog posts.  I still have a lot to share.  Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset.  Sunset is scheduled for 6:00 PM.  On the dot.  I don’t expect we’ll see much.  We’ve had a lot of heavy cloud cover today.  But you never know.  It’s worth the trip just to stand by the water for a little while.  Bundle up.  It’s chilly.  We even fired up the wood stove today.

Please be safe and be well.  ♥♥♥

Autumn dress code.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,901)  Walks and hikes, on my own and with others.  1,902)  Warm jackets and cozy hats.  1,903)  Love (is love is love).  1,904)  The many different colors of autumn.  1,905)  Time to rest and recover.

The colors were almost overwhelming at times.


Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

15 thoughts on “A love project

  1. First of all, thanks for capturing some of the glories of the season. The multi colors in one scene are over-the-top wonderful! Yes – we love your pictures – but your thoughts about love are also worth noting. For me, love is a both deep and complex. So much so, I wonder about the wide meaning it has in our usage of the word. Here’s something for any readers that are interested – a beach walk about Love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gorgeous autumn colors! It seems to be a good foliage year all around. I wish the leaves lasted a bit longer, I miss them when they are gone. The grays of November are creeping in, always a stark contrast to the warm tones that adorned the forest the previous month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a great foliage year, Eliza. I seem to have lucked out. I’m getting to experience peak foliage three times this year. West Virginia, up in Delaware earlier this week, and we are just starting to see peak color down here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robin…what a beautiful inquiry post. The pictures are stunning, as usual. The curiosity about love is certainly worth more than a momentary reflection. I am learning more and more through experiences with family members, that at the heart of love is acceptance. I know that I cannot move them from where they are to a place that holds bigger ideas, bigger thoughts and bold curiosity as a part of our human experience. I love them enough to accept them as they are, where they are, so I am free to be me; to pursue my life’s curriculum and the beauty therein without the weight of wondering if I “should” be reaching for them to join me where I am. I am, of course oversimplifying a very complex set of feelings, emotions, concerns, hopes and all manner of related aspects of any relationship. So I decided to live more simply. They can be who they are. I can embrace who I am. We are all free to be. To make our choices; face the outcomes of said choices, and live our individual lives to their fullest. So love is acceptance. Which is then peace…within. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Carrie. ❤ I really like what you wrote about wondering if you “should” be reaching for others to join you where you are. I can see how living more simply, allowing others to be who they are, would make a difference in your life and in the peace you experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like this post. Your thoughts and research about love are interesting, especially in light of the emotionally turbulent times in which we find ourselves. I define love as “action aimed at spiritual growth.” I think M. Scott Peck said that. This definition works for me and keeps me moving forward with grace, usually.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, a beautiful, thoughtful inquiry post. My thoughts have been running in exactly the same path as yours. How can we love people who have such odious philosophies? And what happens when we don’t love them? When we start to hate them? The hate never has a good ending. That we know. Believe it or not, CW’s Star Girl explores this question in the current season. For a teen fantasy show, it has surprising depth.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your autumn foliage is stunning — thank you for sharing it here. “Love” is one of those words bandied around with little thought as to its meaning (I love chocolate, for instance). Most of us spend an entire lifetime trying to find love, to understand it, to keep it. Intriguing thoughts, Robin!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about love, Robin. I have been exploring this, too–well, you and I have probably been exploring this for many many years. I had to finally let go of my own opinion and need to be right (and the accompanying anger rising up against those who saw things differently). It was really humbling to learn how much intolerance I really had, how hard it was so see another view. We had a relative healing visit with family recently where both sides lay down their swords, metaphorically speaking. My heart has actually opened toward one relative, in particular, who is suffering so bad because of possibly losing her job because of the vaccine mandates. She will not get the vaccine and I listened to her talk for hours as we walked past trees that looked a lot like yours. I do not know the answers anymore and my heart feels soft and open and raw in the not-knowing. That feels closer to love than my former hard opinions (even though I would probably chose the same way again–perhaps next time there could be space in this heart for all our humanity). Just a hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve missed reading your posts and resting in your wisdom, Robin. The only thing I have to say about love is that it makes you vulnerable, especially when you lose someone you love, but it is worth every moment of pain in that missing, in exchange for the joy and privilege of experiencing love.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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