Cupid’s Arrow

Artists often depict Cupid, the ancient Roman god of love, as a winged baby that carries a golden bow and a quiver of arrows. He inflicts love and passion to his victims and has become an iconic symbol of Valentine’s Day. Cupid is the son of Mercury, the winged messenger of the gods, and Venus, the goddess of love.

In his 1482 painting, La Primavera, Sandro Botticelli positions a blindfolded Cupid above Venus, shooting an arrow.

Shakespeare said this about Cupid’s blindness in A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath love’s mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is love said to be a child
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled

Are you ever struck by Cupid’s arrow? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell at first. He doesn’t always aim for dead center. The love arrow can graze or nick the skin. In such cases, platonic thoughts shift to romantic ones. Friendship may transform into something more. Like the act of wading into the water to acclimate before a swim, love can ease its way into life. Other times, when it’s a bull’s eye hit to the heart, persons dive into the deep end. We have often compared the highs from intense romance to that of a drug. Love can resemble symptoms of addiction — euphoria, craving, dependence, withdrawal and relapse. Cupid’s arrow not only affects the heart, it can overtake the mind. Neuroscience has linked passionate love with intense changes in emotion and attention, and the reduced ability to control attention. When head-over-heals in love, thoughts drift to the object of affection, sometimes obsessively.

Pablo Neruda describes the feelings of being driven to distraction by love in his poem Love Sonnet XI:

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

Whether you’re ever hit by Cupid’s arrow or not, may love, in all its potential and varieties, capture your heart and thoughts on Valentine’s Day.

Leaving Texas

In David Lean and Noël Coward’s movie, Brief Encounter, Laura Jesson accidentally bumps into Dr. Alec Harvey, who gently removes a piece of grit from her eye. Chances are you’ve seen the movie. Both Laura and Alec are in their late thirties or early forties, married and with children, and after a couple of fortuitous meetings, their innocent and casual relationship develops into something deeper which dismays them. Not wishing to hurt their families, they agree to break up and go their separate ways. At the end of the movie, they meet in a railway station refreshment room to say goodbye. And wouldn’t you know it? At that very second Laura bumps into a talkative friend who invites herself to join them and begins chattering away, robbing the couple of their last chance to say goodbye. It’s a scene that makes you shake your head and cry.

Christian Wiman writes of a similar departure in his book, My Bright Abyss. He writes of leaving Texas and someone he will probably never see again.

I haven’t been in contact with Adele since the morning I left Texas, when she called just as I was heading out the door. There was a moment of silence before we stumbled all over each other trying to convey how much our tentative and half-candid time together had meant to each of us, the spark of spirit that (though we didn’t say so) burned there. We didn’t exchange e-mails. We didn’t promise to stay in touch. It was a moment, and we acknowledged it before letting it sink back into our fluid and restless inner lives to do its work there.

Leaving is never easy when love is in the mix, especially when your heart hints it’s the only way. And it’s even more difficult when two persons like Alec and Laura or Christian and Adele seem to fit together so well. I just finished a Michael Connelly book called The Last Coyote. One character in the book lost his bride-to-be the night they were to elope. Speaking of that horrid night he says, “I think you only run into a person who is a perfect fit once in your life. When you find the one you think fits, then grab on for dear life. And it’s no matter what she or he’s done in the past. None of that matters. Only the holding on matters.” But we do not live in a perfect world and holding on is not always possible. Like Laura and Alec, it makes you shake your head and cry.

Inside the Smell

Real love prods us to give our all. Robert Ferguson tells a story about a woman research technician on the staff of a certain hospital. A resident surgeon asked the woman to call on a young man recovering from an operation which had left him with no bodily function below his chest. He was depressed and wished to die. And, he had developed severe gangrenous peritonitis. The accompanying odor was horrendous. When the technician entered the room, the smell was so staggering, she gagged, backed out of the room, and ran into the doctor.

“Have you seen my patient?” the surgeon asked.

“I tried, but I couldn’t breathe,” she replied.

The doctor reached for her arm and gently guided her back to the room. “I know it smells bad, but there’s a heartbroken and dying young man in there who needs to know we care. Go in and find the man inside the smell.”

Loves moves us to go the second mile, to disregard the foulest of odors for whoever needs us, for whoever catches our heart. Life matters. People matter. Individuals matter. Love the person inside the smell and see isn’t love gladdened by goodness.

The Crowd

We often allow other people’s ideas to imprison us. The beliefs and opinions of the crowd usurp our own convictions. We assume we can protect ourselves by hiding in the crowd or worse, running along with it. Thomas Merton believed we are afraid of the aloneness, “the moral nakedness we might feel apart from the crowd.”

Looking back, I see times I’ve failed to speak out above the crowd, occasions I’ve missed to correct misunderstandings, shortsightedness, or straight-out meanness. This year I’m going to give myself an enormous hug and speak from my heart regardless of where I am or who I’m with. I won’t allow a crowd mentality to persuade me otherwise.

Vita Vita

Vita Sidorkina enjoys balancing her life as a supermodel with home and family.

Married life is amazing! Everything is so much better when you have your soulmate by your side. I definitely think any relationship requires work but it should never feel forced. The key is to be honest and open about your feelings, and accept your other half exactly the way they are.

Maxim September 2019 Article by Zeynep Yenisey

Vita welcomed her daughter, Allegra, to the world in November 2018. She is someone who enjoys simple things, like going to the movies and spending time with her family. “Ever since I had a baby, I realized that life is not about me anymore! Being a parent means making sacrifices, but it’s also the most rewarding thing ever.”

Pouring heart and energy into work, home and family is a wonderful expression of love and gratitude. Having a soulmate at your side gives life meaning and purpose. Bessie Head wrote in A Question of Power, “Love is so powerful, it’s like unseen flowers under your feet as you walk.” Vita surely must feel the soft flower petals strewn on the path before her.

Basking in Simplicity

When I think of you, I become the keys of a piano, the strings of a guitar, the high notes of a song. Lyrics form a love story between parallel worlds, yours and mine. Outlines of separate existences stayed in their lanes for the longest time. Then one day our paths crossed, collided. From that day forth, our stories, our hearts, merged into one. But epic love tales are never that easy. First, we had to shatter our worlds, break each other’s hearts.

In the beginning, the complexity of the collision seemed simple. What could be easier than falling in love? Loving you was effortless; it was a journey of destiny. Living for one another felt natural. I not only lived for you but would have died for you, and you for me. The years passed, and so did the simplicity. The intricate workings of circumstance gave way to mixed emotions, to contradictions. 

Your name on my lips, sweet and sharp. A love song or a battle call? I’ve since forgotten what I began fighting for. Did I attack in the name of love? Was I driven mad by fear and trepidation? Protecting myself, I laced my loving words with poison. Your mediating skills went into full swing until you could no longer defend yourself against my toxic thoughts and pointed swings. Pushed by an apparition, I fell down a dark rabbit hole. When you couldn’t reach me, you came tumbling after. You couldn’t save yourself, because you couldn’t leave me. So I took you down another level, straight into the wretched place I dwelled, in the mud. Here, I made you get your hands dirty and rub them on me; I needed to feel your body on mine, even in contempt. It was when I brought you down as low as you could possibly go that I finally saw how much you love me, how much you’ve always loved me, and how much you will always love me.

In the end, there’s something shattering and humbling about waging a war with the one you love most. There are no victors, only lessons. For me, living through this dark night of the soul embarked a spiritual awakening. This enlightenment came by way of you.

And so here we are, basking in simplicity. We love effortlessly, for it is our destiny. We live and breathe for one another, for that’s the natural order. I live for you, and would die for you, and you for me. Nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed. Our union, like our love, is infinite.

Magic Everywhere

From the 1920s
To the 2020s

Wishing you all a safe and happy Halloween!

October 31, the eve of November 1, was the last night of the year in the ancient Celtic calendar, an evening when folks celebrated the end of their fruitful summer. The Celts of Northern Europe threw parties and built bonfires with hopes of helping the sun through the winter. Their winters were cold and harsh. The editors of Reader’s Digest remarked their winters “called to mind the chill and blackness of the grave, and so it was a time when ghosts would walk, and supernatural spirits, warlocks, and witches would hold their revels.”

Halloween today is a time to suit up, open a bottle of wine or champaign, and put some fresh ribs or veggies on the grill. It’s a time to dance, bake cookies, and try to scare the living daylights out of anyone who comes knocking at your door. We suggest you mask-up, break out the lantern you made from a hollowed-out pumpkin or turnip, turn up the music, and pour out the chocolate bars you bought on sale at your local grocer. When folks come over to see what’s happening, wish them health and happiness in the chilly months ahead, and remember John Martin’s line, “There’s Magic everywhere.”

New Again

Through new love’s eyes fall leaves never fall. The first snow is true love’s first kiss. Spring blossoms stay in perpetual bloom. Summer’s rays shine golden the whole year through. Passion inflames the senses. Life smells sweet, and the world glows with light and love. A gentle graze from a lover’s palm is like an electrical spark to the heart. The sharing of bodies is the imprinting of souls. Ahh, the fireworks of new love. There’s nothing quite like living beneath the expanse of new love’s sky.

October 31, 2020 offers a blue moon, a rare event, particularly since full moons on Halloween occur on a 19-year cycle. Author Stephen King once wrote, “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” Let’s apply this message from the “King of Horror” to love. It’s Halloween, and we all agree, 2020 has been a hard year, so why not treat each other with a little extra love?

Research shows that happy couples use the word “comfortable” to describe their relationships. Comfortable may sound less than thrilling, but it doesn’t have to be. Old companions may arouse the sensations of new love with the bonus of familiarity and skilled precision. Long and savory kisses can easily awaken sleeping desires. All it takes is for one to make the first move, to reach out and touch the other. When seasoned couples endeavor to walk hand in hand, to put on music and ask for the next dance in the living room, or to ask how they might treat each other on Halloween, what is old will reignite and become new again.


Love Always Lingers

Love tarries in the hearts of those who are meant to be together. James Lee Burke speaks of this residual nature of love when, in his book, Private Cathedral, he describes a chance encounter between two former lovers who came close to making a life together. The woman, Penelope, has chosen to live with another.

Dave is thinking aloud:

I saw her on occasion at the racetrack in New Orleans or in a restaurant in the Quarter, and she was always polite and demure, but for just a second her eyes would linger on mine and her face would become warm and contemplative, and whether imaginary or not, I would smell her perfume, even feel it wrapping around me, like the heavy odor of magnolia on a cool spring night, and I would hear a warning bell at a train crossing and make an excuse and get out of New Orleans as quickly as I could.

Private Cathedral

No force on earth can ever extinguish the passion that exists between people who truly love each other.


I am madly in love with you. ​ Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, I see you. ​The mundane is magical. Waiting in line at the grocery store is now an opportunity to check for a message from you, and you do not disappoint. Your sweet offerings are abundant. Common city pigeons have transformed into messengers of love, every “coo” a sweet “I love you.”  A shamrock growing out of a crack in a paved parking lot stops me dead in my tracks for a moment of splendor. To me, its delicate three leaves are no less extraordinary than four. My feet are light as I skip along the street, in a groove, feeling the beat. I’m playing our song—songs, we have so many! Beneath the nighttime sky, I tend to choose a tune that brings our bodies together in a slow and sensual dance. As the sun sets early and darkness falls, my spirits rise. ​In my mind I am already crawling into bed with you. ​ ​Privy ​to my thoughts, ​the streetlights wink as I approach. ​My mouth flashes a Cheshire cat grin, and I nod my head to them. ​They understand the electricity between us. 

It’s all the little things about you that make me ​desire and love ​​you so. You’ve a thousand good qualities, all wrapped up in​ ​one ​delightful package​. ​ ​T​he unique gift of you​ includes more than your handsome good looks​. ​You come with a warm heart and a strong obligation to serve ​others. You’re not plagued with depressive thoughts or addictive behaviors. In many ways you lead a simple life, and that simplicity adds to your calmness and depth of wisdom. When you gaze at me with your soul-piercing eyes​ ​it’s a sprinkling of stardust ​on​ my psyche. ​You make me want to greet every single person I meet, but I’ll leave that to you. You’re good with people. They always want more of you, and yet you keep them wanting. You share yourself, your private self, with so few. ​Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who truly knows you. One thing is for sure, I love you like no other.

Love Is

From the Movie Pain and Gain

I saw the movie Arthur several years ago, a movie about a rich young man who grew up never caring for anyone; then suddenly he fell in love, and he couldn’t describe the way he felt. He wanted to know if what he felt was real, so he asked a total stranger, “How can you tell if you’re in love? Does it make you feel funny? Does it make you whistle all the time?” The stranger was unphased by all of Arthur’s questions. He thought a moment and said, “You could be in love; then again, you could be getting a cold.”

Arthur’s problem is not rare. Few of us know what love truly feels like and even fewer know what love is. The word love covers a broad range of emotions, from loving pepperoni pizza, to loving children, to making love in a bungalow on a beach during summer vacation. Defining love helps no one understand what it is. We have to experience love ourselves, personally and fully, before we understand this thing that changes us inside out. And we can never fully experience it without risking everything we are and have to see where we take it and how we allow it to change us for the better.

We often associate October with the word bewitching, which means captivating, enchanting, entrancing, and fascinating. Surely love is all these and more. So what better time than now to chance everything on falling for another. And if you’re already there, I say fall a little deeper, fly a little higher, move a little closer to one you can give your all for without reserve.

Full Moon Spiked Cider

Get ready, gods and goddesses of love, it’s a magical month, and we’re mixing up a love potion for two. A harvest moon marks the start of October, and a second full moon, a blue moon, will shine for Halloween. It’s the perfect time to brew up a cup of love. For that, we’ve got you covered:

Full Moon Spiked Cider

2 cups unfiltered, organic Honeycrisp apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground anise seed
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 oz bourbon


  1. Pour apple juice, cinnamon sticks, spices, zest, and orange juice in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the cider for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle.
  2. Add the bourbon, then stir to combine. Pour through a strainer into two glasses and enjoy immediately.

For best results, dim the lights down low, put on a romantic play list (we suggest Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” as the intro song), and believe not in the love potion, but in love.