I don’t love Valentine’s Day for the flowers, chocolate, and wine (although I do love those things), but for the simple fact that it is a celebrated day of romance. How often do we celebrate romance? Not nearly enough. Romance seems to be set aside for new lovers, and even the happiest of couples tend to roll their eyes at young people flirting with each other.
I am a writer. I feel emotion through sentence structure and word choice. Romance is a noun, meaning a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. Nouns are solid, something used to identify something. But romance is also a verb, an action word, such as to be in the act of romance, or to court or woo another. Romance, it seems, can be a way of life, a way of being that keeps excitement and mystery alive even in times that can feel mundane. Ordinary.
Romance means something different to everyone. To some, it can mean big, elaborate showings of affection. Flowers. Gifts. A weekend at the spa. To others, it can mean small, everyday kindnesses such as putting the kids to bed. A movie night. Doing the dishes. To me, it means time. The gift of time is something that you can never take back, never replace.
I think that skiing and snowboarding, and tubing, are romantic endeavors because even while going fast, they make people slow down. Spend time together. A couple, a family, even solo: Everyone benefits from this gift of time that we either give to each other, or to ourselves.
Mount Peter would most likely not exist if it weren’t for romance. Gail and Don, my parents, fell in love because of the mountain and decided to make their lives here. It is a story that we have told often. There are other stories of romance, love on the mountain. I met my husband here; my sister met her husband here. Countless employees have met their spouses on our slopes. Many families that we see today, out on the mountain, all started because of Mount Peter. Something about the fresh mountain air, pink cheeks, an unhidden smile. It’s a bit of an aphrodisiac, I suppose.
Love is something that should not be taken for granted, on St. Valentine’s Day, or any other moment in time. It is not to be abused or used as a weapon. It is precious, a thing that keeps us feeling alive, an action that gives us momentum to enjoy the ride.
Some of my greatest moments of happiness have not been in celebrating my own love, but in watching the love of others. People on the hill, holding hands. A father holding his little girl’s hands after she came in from the cold, warming them with his own. Tender moments that remind me of how connected we all are.
Romance. Courtship. Love. These words are not only for couples. Single people often feel sad on Valentine’s Day and to them I can only offer a piece of hard-won wisdom. Love yourself. We, each of us, are both perfect and imperfect. William Shakespeare coined the phrase, “to thine own self be true,” in act one of Hamlet. We need to find our perfections, and forgive our imperfections. So take care of yourselves, spoil yourself now and then, and give yourself the gift of time. If you are a couple, if you are a family, or if you are riding solo on this special day, please know that you are all, each of you, an incredibly special, beautiful, and perfect being.
We are all nouns, and we are all verbs, in action even while at rest. And we are all capable of love.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day.
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