The Book of Lovers

Moonset over the rock formation at the north end of Merijita Beach, Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico, March 2012.  The locals call it “The Lovers Kiss”

“There are three things one should never count: years, glasses of wine, and lovers. ”   —  old Italian saying

This section will be a reminiscence of women who were very important to me at one time or another. I wish to simply reflect on the good things they each brought to my life. I was not always aware of it at the time, yet I know each of them left something lasting in me.

Reflecting back now, I believe there were a few of them with whom I could have built a life together. Certainly things would have been very different had I done so. It is not possible to say it would have been a better life, though in some regards certainly so. It would be more accurate to say it would have been different. I take some pleasure now in speculation, not regrettably, but only as an amusing pastime. I do enjoy the memories it invokes, and I hope you will find these musings somewhat to your liking.  But to begin, here are some wise words by a woman we all know who has not had a lifelong relationship, though she was married once, for a time.

“I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet! I did learn how to have a happy home, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it. Everybody has a superficial side and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth — we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged or understood. Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff. That’s reflected in the fact that this culture sets up an addiction to romance based on insecurity — the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern so much in myself and my friends and some people never get off that line. “But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing. I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called ‘The End of Sex,’ that said something that struck me as very true. It said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over. “You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love. It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you — it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.” ~ JONI MITCHELL