Violets are blue
I remortgaged my house
To buy this for you
Well, okay, it wasn't all chocolates and kisses back in the 3rd Century, when St. Valentine himself was sneaking around, passing love notes and performing secret marriages. The history around this romantic dude is a bit murky - facts changed slightly from website to website - but from what I could pull together, Valentinus was a Roman priest. Rome was in a bit of a pickle, peacefulness wise, so Emperor Cladius II decided to ban marriage, believing that unmarried men made better soldiers. Although some men probably went out to celebrate this news, Valentinus, being the old time Romeo that he was, decided he would perform marriages in secret for those lovers desperate to tie the knot. Because he defied the Emperor but gave up his life to "perform the scared act of marriage" he was imprisoned (where he apparently fell in love with the prison guard's daughter, slipping her love notes between the bars signed, "your Valentine"), and then beheaded. A saint was born, and thus, St. Valentine's Day (February 14 - the day of his beheading). Although, it is said, it wasn't until those poetic fellows Shakespeare and Chaucer got hold of his stories, that the flowery-romancy-barfiness factor of St. Valentine's Day was truly embraced. Today, there are over 1 billion cards sent for Valentine's Day in the United States. Wowzers.
I know I know, your interest is peaked. Read more and learn things: here and here for starters.
Even though the roots of Valentine's Day are a bit different from the beast it has grown into, the message of love is now, as always, an important one. There are wars in so many parts of the world. There is hate in every part of the world. And there is cruelty and negativity everywhere you turn. Sometimes, it is hard to look past all of this and focus on love, joy, peace, and happiness. If you noticed the name of my blog, you probably have a pretty good inkling that these things are important to me. It makes people feel good when someone shows them kindness. It makes people feel great when they are loved. And it makes people feel wonderful when they themselves are the givers of such invaluable gifts. It reminds me of the Friends episode where Phoebe tries desperately to find a selfless good deed. It's impossible. The more good-deeding you do, the better you feel inside. For undeniable scientific proof, watch the 1966 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
So I set out to complete my February goal with the intentions of spreading the love. I researched, pondered, and discussed the best ways to do this. Many of them revolved around money and purchasing material items. Booo! After a while, I realized that spending money for this goal would be inevitable, so the new challenge was to spend that money in the right ways - to lift people's spirits without having to give them "things." Here's what I came up with:
Good Deed #1: Happy Valentine's Day to Bees!
Valentine's Day is so selective. Who said we had to send love to our significant other and no one else? What about the bees? Without them we would be nothing. Literally. They deserve as much love, or even more, than the next creature. So, with the help of David Suzuki and my always willing boyfriend (thanks love), we set out to the plant store in search of some 'bee-friendly' plants. We settled on chives, lavender, violas, and a package of wildflowers deemed "bee friendly" by West Coast Seeds. We packaged them up right cute and put them in the community garden near our house (Nelson Park). I am hoping some bee loving West-Enders picked up the seeds and will plant them when the time is right. The bees of the world aren't doing so great, and without bees there is about as much chance for human survival as there is of me not having zombie nightmares tonight (in other words, 0% chance. Thanks Walking Dead, and bee-killing pesticides). Here is a neat and scary article about it. And here are a couple of pictures of said deed:
Good Deed #2: Cards!
Second most important, after bees, are my friends and family. Well, third if you count my love of freshly picked berries. Well, maybe fourth after a good book read in the afternoon sun. Okay, fifth after that amazing sushi I had on Davie the other day.
I have so many amazingly wonderful people in my life, that I decided Valentine's Day was as good a time as any, to spread the love to some of those special humans. There are so many, and I only have so few dollars to my name, that I had to draw the line somewhere. In the end, I sent out about 12 cards. I spent time on each card. First of all, I typed out not at all cheesy Valentine messages on the awesome and totally vintage typewriter that my grandmother gave me this past Christmas, proving the age old adage: if you keep something long enough, it will become the apple of a hipster's eye someday. Not that I am a hipster, but I'm sure there are some out there who would kill for an actually old typewriter. But, I digress. When writing these cards, I sat down and really thought about how special the recipients were to me. I tried to write honestly and lovingly but hopefully not to the point of inducing a gag reaction. I really think it is important to be open about positive feelings. Say thank-you to the bus driver. Smile at the people walking down the street. If we all spread a little love each day, imagine how many good vibes we'd all be riding on. Anyways, here are a couple pictures of the totally not dorky cards I made.
March goal is in the works!