This is what I think when I think of love.

This is what I thought of when I thought of love.

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As a child it was a bird that landed in the window and flew away when I reached out to touch it.  It never stayed long.  I learned that to look at it was to scare it away.  To move towards it was to force it into flight.

I taught myself to view it from the corner of my eye.  And we lived in harmony this way.  And when I tired of that I would rush at it, flapping my arms, daring it to leave.  The fear of something is almost always worse than it actually occurring.  And sometimes this was true.  Is true.

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If my windowsill felt empty, it was only because I couldn’t stop looking at it.  Even in the dark I knew that there was nothing there.   And that space was so big and me so small.

When I think of love now I think of warmth like tropic salt water.  I think of immersing myself under the waves and feeling calm within a thundering wash.  I long for love to be the harbor, even though I am the storm.  I can’t be protected from the weather that is inside of me.  And in this place lives a tiny child who runs at the bird to scare it away and dies as she watches it soar.  A thing for others but not for her.

This is what I do when I let it all go.

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I know that out there in that vast space around me is a love that stays.  A love that forgives, forgets, and saves.  I know that out there I will find a love that holds me close and leads me towards my fears, not away.  That love will shine a light on my demons and expose them as dust bunnies and shadows.  And in return I promise love that I will always keep the light on.  The door will always stay wide to the wind.  And though I will never be whole, I will always be ready to try.

This is what I say to love when in sits in the windowsill, wings spread.

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I am sorry.  I never meant to chase you away.  I was taught that when I reached for you that you would leave.  And because of that I sat still, grew scared, and then lunged.  Thinking maybe this would be the time I could hold you in my arms.  I was wrong.  I need you know to know that your beauty has forever changed me and I will stare at my window and see your shape and hear your sound for as long as I live.  In my heart I know how lucky I am to have been so close to you and I am grateful beyond words.  I believe in you and admire your flight; it felt so wonderful to see the world from your perch, even if only for a moment.  You taught me to be brave and true.  You taught me that love is not something you can hold.  It is something that holds you, flies when it likes, and visits you when you least expect it.

This is what I think of when I think of love.

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I long for the day when I can sit in the same room with love and it stays.  It hears me cry and rage, and it stays.  It says to me that I will never leave you; I will never give you a minute of loneliness.  I will be by your side no matter how scared you get.  I don’t need to fly away because I am yours and you need me.  You are mine and I need you.

This is what I think of when I think of love.

Jerome Witkin-Native American-1974

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