Make your mark
Valentine's day is big business. Buried in a mid-winter avalanche of ads for flowers, chocolates and jewelry, we forget that it is really about expressing love to someone. The valentine I treasure the most is the chalk heart my late husband drew on our basement wall with our initials in it. It won't mean much to future inhabitants, but it makes my heart smile every time I venture down for canned goods or home grown peas from the freezer.
Treasured, too, are the love letters my mother and father wrote to each other just before their wedding in 1946. In this day and age, who will save texts or emails written to a loved one? Unless of a nefarious nature, and therefore of interest to law enforcement officials, these will most likely be lost to the ether. I did save the emails that John and I exchanged just after connecting through an on-line dating site 16 years ago, but they don't have the same heart punch as his hand written, scratchy, scatter-shot to-do lists, or 'gone fishing' notes to me on the backs of old library catalog cards. I still come across these, left behind in books, in his office, or in his fishing tackle boxes. Each and every discovery like finding buried treasure.
We get intimate glimpses of history in hand written letters that are lost with electronic communications. John Keats letter to his fiancé Fanny Brawne professing his love, but in essence telling her not to visit as he lay dying, is a real tear jerker. John and Abigail Adams wrote to each other constantly. Abigail, of their farm in Massachusetts she was holding together while John wrote of the challenges of leading a new nation into its future.
Make your mark, make someone's day, bookmark your place in history. Write a letter, put a stamp on it and send it. It doesn't have to be for Valentine's day. Caring for someone, expressing your thoughts and feelings, or simply sharing your day isn't exclusive to the middle of February. Your expressions aren't managed by the corporate world, or the dictates of the calendar. They belong to the basic human goodness in all of us. Pick up a pen, grab a scrap of paper and go do the write thing!