Love Letter to a Cowboy

Why do I love you? You, the very particular you, cowboy?  Ah, you are funny. You are kind. You ask questions about what you don’t understand, which shows a depth of intelligence many do not possess. You have a quiet confidence – oh, I am not sure if that is the right word – a sureness, maybe, of yourself and what you can do that is so very marvelous. You pick up on emotional nuances – I would say you are sensitive, though I wonder if you will like that word. Your voice is beautiful, and makes me shiver. Your honeyed sweetness washes over me and I desire you, always.

Love between men and women in this western culture is suffused with ideas of romance that prove hard to dispel. “I love you” means “I want to marry you.” Or, “I want you to provide for me.” Maybe, “You will take care of all my emotional needs.” Sometimes it merely means “I do not want to be alone.” Romantic love is supposed to be gifts and surprises, roses on Valentine’s Day; diamonds, sexy lingerie, and flowers for no reason…oh, I could go on and on. If happily ever after is the goal, no wonder so many romantic relationships fail: the weight of cultural shoulds and expectations smothering the wild joy that arises in being held by love. That love becomes mere role playing to a set of gender-specific, culturally-mediated behaviours…

Well, anyway, my imaginary friend asks, why is this important? Because my love is very personal, yes? Yes, my love is personal to me, but my love, your love, his love, her love, all loves, really, are one. It is the essence of love, I believe, to make oneself vulnerable. The vulnerability of sharing one’s deepest regret and shame, as well as one’s greatest elation, the most prosaic aspects of our daily lives. To be exquisitely vulnerable: to say what one wants and needs, knowing that one might not get it. To be open: not closed off, fearful, or bound by rules of romance. This is when we become most human, most ourselves…and both life and love become sweeter beyond measure.

I do not know what the future holds, though I say this: let’s do that wild joy thing and see what happens. Flowers are optional.



Honeyed. Fresh. Golden. Perfumed with spice. Clear. Keen. Engaging.

This is how I describe my life today, at this moment, on the cusp of another birthday that brings me to the magic number of 57. All numbers have some magic, of course, but this number – oh, this number – sees me overflowing with the sweetness of life, with the sure and certain intuition that focus, intent, and direction of course are aligned. That life follows its true path, like an arrow skillfully loosed…

I hear you, my imaginary friend, bid me bask in the golden moment, while keeping a sharp eye out for the curves and thickets ahead. For we know the road is never straight, and the end is only visible towards the end. Never the less, the delighted anticipation of what is around the curve is a large piece of my joy in life at this moment. There will be a thicket or two, I am sure, but these must be seen to be navigated, and I am not there yet.

Of what is this lyric happiness composed? A glorious summer, with the promise of a spectacular autumn ahead. The practise of craft and the honing of skills. The love of family and friends. You, of course, my imaginary friend, you. And perhaps some would call it the mellowness of aging, but which I think is more the understanding of my own true nature, the willingness to let the real me emerge and be seen.

My twenties – thirties – forties – much came easy to me, though the folk saying of be careful what you wish for comes to mind. I wished, and therefore I got, in those days, only to wonder why it did not satisfy. The genie in the lamp is much more reticent, now; he grants me only what will live in my heart happily. Or, perhaps he grants me the discernment to know what ought to live in my heart…

And you, my imaginary friend, you. You live in my heart…my honeyed, fresh, golden, perfumed with spice, clear, keen, engaging heart. It is a tangled garden, but beautiful for all that, I hope. It does not grow in orderly rows or tidy plantings, but sprawls and runs riot and reaches for the sun and glows with the warmth of the good earth…

The Tangled Garden, JEH MacDonald, National Gallery of Canada

Just so, like that. What shall you make of it?