This season of spring we explore love from all of her facets: the different kinds of love, the history of the word, her different story forms, be they prose, poetry, lyrics or more, love in life, love in place, time, and space.
There will be different essays involving letters, photos, sound, and visual since love can be effusive and elusive. Always there and seemingly never caught. Not in a game and surprisingly, inviting us out of ours.
Tuesdays will still touch on the personal life and Fridays, place. A continued welcome to those who desire to Breathe deeply in the vapors of love, warming and humidifying the chest, filling the cavity richly and letting in the intoxicating message that Love loves.
The cover for this season of editorials is by Ansel Adams (1902-1984), an American photographer who helped bring conservation to the West inspired by his love for the land, the lens, and luminosity.
Here, I'd like to expand a little about this particular photograph and the play with "Love" on the front cover.
First, this specific photo came to mind as the photo to use. I am not for sure why. Ansel Adams is my favorite photographer and somehow this photo called "Thunderstorm, Yosemite Valley" seemed to catch all the nuances and faces that love offers and affords or the felt absence when it is absent. The chill and utter void. Perhaps these subtleties conjured up this picture out from my memory.
The vast overwhelming presence of love can be remarkable, offering breathtaking perspectives and experiences on healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and transformation. The absence of it can feel so dark and divisive and sometimes, strangely disorienting, ushering in confusion and a feeling of lostness in the wilderness. (And the crazy thing is that not just her absence can do that, her presence can too.) The way Adams uses natural light stuns and envelops me every time I see this particular photograph. This may be one of my favorite photos of his.
Love stuns and envelops also. Too massive to hold and too grand to understand. It is to be felt, experienced, encountered, and enjoyed. Relished and naturally, shared. Compassionately extended once a heart has received its transformative gentle powers.
But perhaps I thought of this photograph because I just read and finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a story about a young woman in her mid-twenties hiking the Pacific Crest Trail on her own. I found myself seemingly hiking with her through the light and darkness of the Sierra Nevada - through her own dramatic contours of grief and love - and feeling the hot heat of the day and utter coldness of night. Seeing the sweeping views of the California landscape (and Oregon's too). I learned that John Muir, another great conservationalist and who profoundly influenced Adams, called the Sierra Nevada the Range of Light of which Yosemite is a part.
Second, the capital "L" is of a different font than the rest of the letters to signify such a relationship between Love and us and that Love is and always will be greater than us, though I believe it can emanate out from us. I also felt it needed to go near the top of the photo, not because love exists only in the heavens but rather to signify the greatness of this relationship in which we participate. Full of light and darkness.
Third, I chose to place the word "Love" where I did to symbolically have the "o" half-filled with the clearness of the sky and half-filled with the cloudiness of the sky, representing the clarity and murkiness that may exist with the presence and absence of love.
I wonder if there is a Range of Love or if Love is always in full throttle. Always piercing but not always penetrating because it is relational. We have a say, too. I wonder what those conversations - spoken, danced, sung, or hiked - would look like. I also wonder if there is a mysterious combination of both a Range and a Fullness with a third dimension of Sight, drawing us into its flow and allowing us to experience the expansiveness of both because we now see.