thank goodness for holidays like valentine’s day, which enable us to take a step back out of ourselves and try to discern exactly why such a day as this was invented in the first place – when shouldn’t we just love those whom we love each and every day? ahhh, there’s the idealist in me — someone please come and shoot me down (use not your poisoned arrows, love; my vulnerable place are far more numerous than Achilles’, whose fall was all for the sake of one tiny, tender patch of skin that his foolish mother forgot to protect. we women, and our flutter selves!).

it all goes back to mythology; the ethereal musings of the greek romantics, casting awed eyes skyward as they lived in fear and veneration of a-god (small g, mind you this)-for-everything, and-for-everything-a-god. enter Eros, then, and let us dedicate a commercial holiday to his remembrance — and see just how many people can clearly articulate the role Eros plays in bestowing upon our modern world such a tasty treat as Valentine’s Day.

in Shakespeare’s playful romantic comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (if you have not read it or seen it, stop reading my blog and consider that your newest priority in life — how have you lived??), the ever-amazing character Puck says, “love looks not with the heart but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” and this is true; Eros, greek god of love, is often depicted as blind. how fitting, no, for us to claim that “love is blind” and chalk it up to the potential of making mistakes? is it not enough to imagine a love god circling the earth in pursuit of his newest target upon which to release his love spell arrow, playfully mischevious in his matchmaking and robbing humans of any semblance of free will to choose their own lovers, to have to make him blind as well? now we take the blame away from even Eros himself, then, for if he cannot see, he is simply casting spells at whim and relying on the pulsings of his heartstrings and godly intuition to tell him where to cast an arrow. once he has hit you, this whimsical marksman, you are no longer master of your own destiny, and you give your love to whosoever he has chosen for you. all this, and love is reduced to mere child’s play (for is not cupid often painted as a baby?), churlish games for even the thinnest skinned to try their hands at. perhaps Eros should have attached a fortune to his arrows, as the Chinese do in their cookies:

caution: this is not for the faint of heart, nor for those turned off by a few skinned knees and loose lips.

so back to Puck, then, and his tongue tripping wisdom (how i love him; perhaps my favorite of all fictional characters!). he watches from afar as humans sweat and toil their way through the brambles of L-O-V-E, laughing at their misfortunes and wondering why humans are so easily swayed by all the trappings of love (or is it lust? how easily i become muddled by the precision of words!) that we seem but blind idiots ourselves, chasing after the wind in hopes of securing another’s bleeding heart — as if one has anything to do with the other.

“lord, what fools these mortals be!”

oh Puck, if you only knew. but, enough cynicism, if that’s what this appears to be to you; for i am yet a hopeless romantic, still one of the rare ones with skylit eyes and a heart intact. so Eros, i do believe i’ll take you on; throw an arrow my way, if so you dare. i never said i wasn’t well armed.