This I Believe

Andrew - Richmond, Virginia
Entered on March 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity, love

Having just hiked up Lookout Mountain, I was now engaged in penning a poem about my belief in the grandeur of love. The first line went like this:

Just as the green hills roll towards me like waves of the sea…

It was scorching hot, and I was sweating buckets from walking up the steep trail. Standing on a rock to gaze across the sunny valley, I yearned for artistic inspiration, for elegant words and beautiful phrases. I wanted to write her the type of poem that would make her love me. I wanted her to be the One. I imagined telling all those jerks in college who called me gay that we were engaged. In my fantasy, we were sipping wine in formal attire, arms entwined, laughing joyfully before locking into a kiss of Oscar-worthy proportion and drama. Those eyes that once mocked me would slant with jealousy, but we would stand proudly above their pettiness like fine art, as if to say, My darling, enjoy me as I enjoy myself. Returning my attention to the green hills, my gaze traced the circular flight of a hawk, spiraling downward ever so gracefully to exactly the point where he wanted to be. Sigh. I never got past that first line of the poem intended to change my life. That day, all that circled my head were buzzing flies.

One year later, I returned to the same Lookout. I made the same hike with considerably less difficulty; it was much cooler and greener and I was in better shape. As I walked out onto that same rock, I decided that it was just as well that I never wrote that poem. Never mind the fact that she doesn’t speak to me anymore, the main point is that the hills weren’t like waves after all. They were stationary, unlike the ebb and flow of the tide. They testified to longevity seemingly outside the boundaries of time. My gaze shifted south towards the little mountain town below, its vehicles bustling around like worker ants. Stop, go; left, right…from the top of timeless Lookout, their movements seemed comically irrelevant. You’re so small! I thought, where are you going that’s so important?

Of course, the people in those cars had no idea I was watching them that day. They were busying themselves around town, doubtless running errands, shopping, eating, smoking, and breathing. Maybe some of them were in love and their thoughts turned to the special person who (for whatever reason, routine or tragic) could not be with them at that moment. Maybe just as I was reflecting on how small and meaningless that car appeared to be, its driver thought about a lover and felt large and important, just like fine artwork. Maybe, just maybe, he or she wrote a poem about the green hills and it meant the world to believe, if only for a moment, that love was bigger than just the two of them.

I believe in the grandeur of love.