Almond blossoms van Gogh

Free Love

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Ann Landers

Flip the calendar into February and there it is, staring you in the face: Valentine’s Day. Ironically, there is a lot of bitterness and animosity about this celebration of Love. Hijacked by the floral, dining, and greeting card industries, the level of cynicism is not surprising.  If all those efforts are truly required to proclaim and reinforce love, just how genuine are those sentiments?  Hmmm.

Is there a kinder gentler way to approach this cultural event?

Maybe things are different now but as a kid, I remember a more democratic approach to the day. There were cupcakes, for all, and Valentines, for all. On that silly day, the whole classroom felt that they mattered. There was a flurry of fondness. At home, family members exchanged cards and small treats. In a family where overt expressions of love was rare, that day stood out.

Can Big Valentine and the Camp Cynical to meet in the middle and extend the hand of peace and love? Maybe, instead of reserving one arbitrary day for proclaiming love, the entire month can be set aside to reach out and remind those friends and family members that they are loved. Red envelopes optional! Maybe instead of a heart, adopt other symbols of love and friendship such as the blossoming almond tree.

Flowers fade, gifts and dinners are soon forgotten but hand written messages are treasured and preserved. You do not need to be a poet to write a few words telling a friend how much they matter to you. Love is not reserved for dating, engaged, and newlywed couples. It is a gift we all need and can share freely.  Select some fine paper or cards and write a note to someone who matters in your life;  send it any day.  That is the sort of Valentine is priceless.

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