Facets of Love

February 15, 2019

“What is love?” asked the boy of the tortoise.

The tortoise said nothing at first, then slowly shifted his head to look at the peculiar creature that asked such a strange question.

“Why, love is but a long walk with a good friend,” the tortoise finally replied.

“Will you walk with me?” then asked the tortoise of the boy.

The boy nodded, but then after a few moments he sat down, for the tortoise is slow, and the boy did not know how to walk with one who moved so slowly.

The boy spotted a shiny rock and picked it up. He liked rocks and decided that this one was a good one, for it reflected a deep blue if he turned it just right in the sunlight. He dug out of his pocket a hand full of rocks with an astonishing variety of shapes and colors, all carefully picked and selected for their uniqueness. He carefully arranged them before him, and after some intense thought he took a white rock and set it aside. In its place, he put the blue one. The boy knew you could only carry so many rocks and he was determined to carry only the best.

The boy looked up to find the tortoise was gone and he was sad. He’d hoped to find out what love is, this thing so revered by others.

A flash of movement and the boy walked into the grass to investigate. There he found a hare and his hope returned that maybe the hare would know what love is.

“What is love?” asked the boy of the hare.

The hare jumped in fright, for he had not seen nor heard the boy approach. He thought for but a moment, “Love is when your heart races in the excitement of the new.”

“Will you run with me?” then asked the hare of the boy.

The boy nodded, for he was as any boy is, and he loved to run. The boy and the hare took off at a great speed, and for a moment the boy felt that excitement. But the hare was too fast and the boy could not keep up. He stopped when the hare faded into the distance.

As he stopped, the boy looked down to see a stick. It was a good stick, sturdy and of the right size for the boy. He picked it up and began to swing at the grass and bushes in a sullen rhythm. He continued to swing his stick until he heard a voice.

“Watch it, boy, where you swing that stick. For you do not know what lies in the grass or bush.”

The boy turned to see an eagle perched on a large branch of a sturdy looking bush. The boy looked at the eagle and thought to ask again, that maybe this time he could discover what love truly was.

“What is love?” asked the boy of the eagle.

“Ah, such a deep question for one so young,” replied the eagle. “But I will tell you what love is, for I have loved, and I love, and I know it well. Love is to soar high above the clouds with another, so high that nothing in this world can touch you.”

“Will you fly with me?” then asked the eagle.

The boy nodded eagerly, for he had always dreamt of flying and wanted nothing more in that moment than to fly with the eagle. The eagle took flight and the boy watched the eagle fly away.

The boy continued to walk. He swung his stick back and forth as he dreamt sad dreams of flying. Before long he heard a noise like the sound of an angry waterfall, full and deep. He walked toward the noise and found a bear. The bear had an angry face with sharp and scary teeth, but the bear was trapped in a great pit. Yet the boy would not be deterred by such things.

“What is love?” asked the boy of the bear.

The bear thought for a minute and said, “Love is to help out a friend in need.”

The bear looked around and said, “Little boy, will you be my friend and help pull me from this pit?”

The boy said yes, as he thought it would be nice to have a friend. So he pulled, and tugged, and strained until his face turned red. He tried everything he could think of, and even broke his stick, but he was only a boy, and the bear was big, and he wasn’t strong enough to pull a bear from a pit.

“Well,” said the bear, “perhaps someone else will come along to help me.”

The boy walked away, sad that he could not help the bear. Before long he came across an old house with a small porch, and on it an old rocking chair, and in it rocked an old man with his eyes closed. The boy walked up a set of old stairs that creaked dangerously. He wondered if the old man was asleep. Then he wondered if perhaps the old man had died and the rocking chair had merely forgotten to stop. When he reached the top, though, the old man’s eyes snapped open.

“What do you want, boy?” asked the old man.

The boy jumped in fright, and he almost ran away right then, for nothing seemed more dangerous than an old man who had died, yet spoke again. But the boy needed to know, and he knew that if anyone would know what love was, it should be this old man who had lived so long. The boy took a deep breath and steadied himself.

“What is love?” asked the boy of the old man.

The old man spat, and bitterly said, “Love is but a broken heart, rent in two by abandonment, and anger, and hate. Love is but to sit alone, waiting for no one to come home.”

“Will you sit with me?” then asked the old man.

But there was only one chair, and the boy was scared of the old man’s words and tone. So he ran down the steps and then ran into the fields. He ran until he grew tired, and then he stopped to rest under a massive tree with wide branches that cast deep shadows.

“Why are you so sad?” asked the tree of the boy.

The boy looked up to see a friendly face cast in hard angles of wood and shadow.

“I am not patient enough, nor fast enough, nor strong enough, nor do I have the wings, nor do I have the courage to love,” said the boy.

“Ah, but you do not need patience, nor be fast, nor strong, nor have wings, nor even do you need courage to love.”

“What then do I need?”

“You need but a seed and to plant that seed in good soil with plenty of water. Time then will turn that seed into love.”

“But I do not have a seed.”

The tree paused for a long time. After even longer, the boy thought maybe the tree had forgotten him, but then it spoke and in its voice carried heart-breaking sadness. “Oh, I’m am so sorry boy. For without a seed I do not see how you could know love.”

The boy left the tree feeling sad, for it now seemed as though everyone had known love but him.

He walked for a time before he came across a girl. She was dirty and thin, and she sat alone alongside the road. He sat down before her and saw that she wore clothes that were too small for her size, and were old and ripped besides. Her shoulders were slumped and he thought she had been crying.

“Why are you so sad?” asked the boy of the girl.

So the girl told him. She spoke to him of an angry father and a distant, empty mother. She told him of bruises and of pain, of long days without food, and even longer days without friends. As she spoke, the boy felt his heart break. He felt anger, bitterness, loneliness, and abandonment, and yes, he even felt hate.

The boy took out his rocks, then, and laid them between the two. He spent some time looking them over before he picked out the perfect rock. It was a rock of all colors, for you could see any color you wanted if you turned the rock just right in the light. The boy knew that the best of all rocks had all the colors, and this rock was his favorite. He gave it to the girl.

He collected all the rest of his rocks and put them back in his pocket. He stood up and offered the girl his hand. She took his hand, and he had no problem pulling her up.

“Would you walk with me?” asked the boy of the girl.

She said yes, she would very much like to walk with him. So they walked a long way and for a long time, and after an even longer time, he gathered enough courage to take her hand.

“Would you stay with me?” asked the girl of the boy.

He said yes and she smiled. It was only then that his heart raced and his soul took flight.