So, it’s Valentine’s Day again. Yep. Another of those days forced down our throats by marketing companies and card shops. There’s a social obligation which frankly grates, whether we have a special someone in our lives or not. It has become traditional here on the Walking Talking blog to publish a post on this particular day to celebrate travelling so let’s not break the tradition in 2020.
My favourite book is The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd. I re-read it every so often and revel in Nan Shepherd’s prose, the sheer vivid life in every word. I do that despite never having been to the Cairngorms nor being particularly keen to actually go up a mountain. The preface, written many years after the text, ends with these words:
‘Love pursued with fervour is one of the roads to knowledge’.
I really like that. She doesn’t just mean romantic love. Love for a place. It can be a mountain or a beach or a castle or anywhere. Or for an act, a passion, a career. I personally think that this fourteenth day of February should celebrate all loves. For family, friends, pets, football teams, hulking mountains, telly programmes, whatever you want. Pizza, even, or the finest chocolate bars. Love is complicated.
If I could be anywhere else than here, writing these words on a cold night, I would be in a wood somewhere. I was in Lochend Woods near Dunbar a couple of weeks ago and felt a deep affection for the place. A love, maybe, for the place and maybe for the wandering dreamer who roamed those woods once. I discovered my love for writing in those woods. Like Clare in the fields, I gathered poems there and just had to write them down.
There is no shame in loathing this night, for longing, for hoping or just ignoring it entirely. There is also nothing wrong with celebrating the one, or ones, you’re with, whoever they may be. ‘Love pursued with fervour is one of the roads to knowledge’. Yep. I would go with that.