I have a forest growing in my heart. A big forest, full of trees. And all these trees are you. One tree for every one of you, planted when we met, growing ever since. Maybe it’s still small, or maybe part has died, but the tree is still there. Probably I’m still trying to take care of it as best as I can. Some trees are big and thin, some small but their roots reach oh so deep.
Lately, I’ve had a lot of talks about love. What love is, whom to love and how I use it. It’s been very insightful and I know that my definition of love is definitely not the Hollywood one. Living in a bubble of what I would almost call millennial hippies, I’ve found my definition often more or less shared or at least acknowledged by my friends. On the other hand, I’m pretty scared to share it because I think a lot of people won’t share it.
More and more I realize, this definition of love is one of the cores of who I am. I find it hard to put words on what basically is a mess of weird and big feelings, but there is one metaphor that I keep going back to, that I’d really love to share. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to pin it down in words, so I hope it makes sense.
A note first: I don’t differentiate between love for friends and love for partners/family. I highly believe in loving my friends. Not all of them, but a handful, I undeniably love. This doesn’t mean I would want to be in a romantic relationship with them (even though it can mean that), it’s more similar to the way one would love a parent or a pet maybe.
So: Love is… a forest. The size of the forest is constrained mainly by practical matters like time and energy. Everybody I meet gets a seed in the forest. A lot of them never grow because we don’t match, we never meet again, etc. But a handful start to grow. Tim’s tree for example has grown very big and strong, with deep roots. His leaves block out the sun for other potential partner-love-trees. But in his shadow and all around, little saplings grow. The fact that I water some trees a lot, means I can’t water others because I don’t have enough time. I have a few friends that in my head have a small tree, but very deep roots. We’ve know each other for years, and even though we maybe don’t see each other that often (thus the love might not be big), it’s hard to kill (it goes deep). Usually I don’t have tall trees with shallow roots, except for a few recent exceptions. Either their roots grow bigger, or they topple over because it didn’t work in the end. Sometimes life changes and parts of the tree die. Sometimes lightning hits, sometimes I just don’t water it enough. This gives room for new trees to grow and be people I love more.
I think I can describe a tree for anyone I love. I can point to people that are sa
plings and are good friends with a potential for love, but usually I feel like I look away for a while and suddenly I notice there’s a tree there. One day I’ll figure out my compost, so to speak.
Basically what I’m trying to say is: my love is not a pie. It’s not given to someone, eaten and an ending resource. Love grows, changes, dies and is in no way a static thing. I love more people than just my partner, in different ways and I haven’t yet found the end to my love. Maybe there is none. I would like that actually.
Does this make any sense? How are you different? Or do you also have a forest? I’m still testing this metaphor, so I’m pretty curious to hear other ideas!