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Yesterday was the last day of Valentine’s Month. Perhaps, it seems I don’t have a calendar. I do. I realize one day gets marked with a big red heart. I followed the debates on the commercialism, sexism and rather pronounced hetero-normative valuations of that day — and I still like that heart. I want the the joy, the romance, the sheer thrill of the “mushy moment,” as my girls call it.

However, one day just isn’t enough. Love in all its variations seems to be sorely lacking in modern society. We spin so frantically that taking fifteen minutes, an hour or even a whole entire weekend to sink into love seems indulgent, even decadent.

So last weekend’s trip was fantastically delightful! We had food (the most amazing sushi, in Shelby, NC — Sushi Dojo — you would not believe their inventiveness), music (In the Heights and tix to James Taylor at Tanglewood, oh, and the baby brass band!!); and chocolate (two amazing independent vendors — Bradleys makes the best dark chocolate orange peel in the universe, while Chocolate Fetish, awesome name, makes the most unusually divine truffles you’ll ever find). The main attraction was Shoji Retreats in Asheville. They bill themselves as 2000 feet above stress, and wow!! do they live up to their billing. We had the hot tub, sauna time and then the most amazing massages. Scott, the masseur, did something to my shoulder that had me considering bigamy for a moment. And we laughed, and talked, and explored a town we adore — remembering, blue skying, dreaming — things ignored on our daily to-do lists.

Six months ago, we began a new phase of our “heart’s journey.” And thanks to the February klaxon of hearts & flowers for reminding us to take the time to share more than the duties of each day. That’s one reason, among multitudes, to love the romantic poets of the early-19th century. Darlings like Keats, Wordsworth and Shelley didn’t need the calendar to make each moment of life sensual….

Love’s Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle—
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea—
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?

smoochy tunes:
Almost Like Being in Love (from Brigadoon) — Gene Kelly puts the romantical in romantic leading men
Ticks (Brad Paisley) — an oddly, sweet & funny love song
Big Red Heart (Tracy Bonham) — indy artist, check out the new Masts of Manhatta album
Silly Love Songs (Paul McCartney) — the girls discovered this song on Glee, but I love the steam engine sounds on the original
Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (the Blues Brothers) — while I love Solomon Burke, and Mick’s trib at the Grammys was something, this is Jake & Elwood’s to sing
Say you Love Me (Fleetwood Mac) — we were in Asheville, what can I say…..
Have I Told you Lately that I Love you (Van Morrison & the Chieftans) — the song is one of those oft-covered, check this kicking version
• My Heart Skips a Beat (the Secret Sisters) — love these sisters, who have lovely harmonies & old school song stylings
The Man I Love (Coleman Hawkins) — have a little wine, listen to a little Coleman and the world will be right!
History of Lovers (Calexico with Iron & Wine) — their 2005 collaboration, In the Reins, was a golden spike in the east-west world of folk/alt. country music….
Make a Little Love (Alex Chilton) — he just makes me smile
• Lovers Speak (Joan Armatrading) — she has such power, and practically wills you to listen
• How Deep is your Love (the Bird & the Bee) — their cover of the iconic BeeGees song is both a little twisted and a little cool
• Lovefool (the Cardigans) — a novelty song that is just fun to have on a playlist
 I & Love & You (the Avett Brothers) — my NC boys are taking off, and this song showcases some of the reasons
Love and Happiness (Al Green) – the Reverend Al Green to me, he defines love & happiness for us
I Love you ‘Cause I Want to (Carlene Carter) — I love her fiercely independent take on being in love
The Little Things my Baby Does (Bruce Springsteen) — such an unexpected love song, from the Boss’s outtake album, The Promise
I love you for Sentimental Reasons (Linda Rondstadt) — her voice, designed for the smoky ballad
• I’ll Cover You (from Rent) — this song is so innocently lush, so uncomplicatedly romantic
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Marvin & Tammy) — best version, and everything is improved with a little Motown

There is no remedy for love but more love –> Henry David Thoreau

Take care,
Aly

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