February 15, 2011


As yesterday was Valentine’s Day, I began to think about all the different forms love takes. There are so many, I wonder if we need different words to express them the way Eskimos are said to have different words for snow. Yesterday’s holiday celebrated romantic love. But there is mother’s love, too, which is at once tender and fierce. The love between friends can be strong… the bond we rely upon when we daren’t share our deepest fears with our family. The love for one’s pet isn’t the same as love for a person, but it runs deep as well… an amazing communion between different species. There is also platonic love, familial love, unrequited love, profane and erotic love, narcissistic love, and altruism, all words which show us love’s many faces.

(promotional material for documentary “This is War: Memories of Iraq”)

If I owned the Hallmark Company, I’d design a card to honor a soldier’s love of country — though a card seems small thanks when life and limb are put at risk.  Still I’d like to say something to all the men and women I shall never meet but to whom I owe so much. My card would read:

                What thoughts at heart have you and I

                We cannot stop to tell;

                But dead or living, drunk or dry,

                Soldier, I wish you well.”   

(“The Street Sounds to the Soldiers’ Tread by A. E. Housman)