I was never much one for roses. They just didn’t capture my imagination: I thought peonies prettier and daffodils more characterful. Then, on the day we were married, we stood on the stone steps of the church where we held the wedding service, and rose petals showered down like rain. Our bridesmaids and page boys threw them up in the air with the kind of ecstatic, frenetic energy that only small children have. They were petals torn that morning from roses that grow in a friends’ garden, not more than a few steps from the church. Big gothic, garden roses. The honest and unpretentious kind, with gnarly stems and oddly shaped, but deeply scented flowers. And since then, I’ve had rather a soft spot for roses. I keep a little vase of them by my bedside so that, as I drift off to sleep, I can smell them.
Valentines Day is kind of the same story. I will be honest and say that I’ve lived a life unmoved by cupids and love hearts, and all this seasonal talk of love-with-a-capital-L, that the first breath of February always brings with it. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to think of love as something seasonal. Like asparagus or baby artichokes. But more so, it occurs to me that so much about holidays is ritual and tradition. It’s nostalgia and expectation, set in stone through the sheer act of doing the same thing year in and year out. You write your own meaning into a holiday. That is the thing about Valentines Day – somehow Anthony and I have never really celebrated it. Not through some great act of rebellion, not because we’re Valentines refuseniks or heartless souls; it’s just that somewhere amongst the business of day to day life and the thralls of having fun, we must have missed our first Valentines together. And now that’s the way it falls. It’s just not one of our holidays – in the way that Christmas is or Sunday mornings are. [Read more…]