The title of this post might be a tad misleading–for love is neither simple nor relegated to only three examples or types of love. But love in its many forms is certainly a gift.
And my blog here is eponymously titled, Something About Love. So for this Wild Card Wednesday (WCW)–and in the spirit of the British actor Richard Armitage Fandom’s Spread the Love (STL) campaign for 2014–spearheaded by the Funky Blue Dandelion blogger JazzBaby–I plan to highlight three examples of gifts of love that have touched me recently.
1) Love of Family–The British actor Adam Brown ( top right), who debuted on film endearingly portraying The Hobbit trilogy of films Dwarf quest member, Ori (bottom left), lost his father unexpectedly to a heart attack last November at the young age of 58. That is the same age that my mother died from cancer. And whether their death is from a long standing illness, or unexpected, we are never ready to lose our parents. Our parents are our touchstones to the wider world–they are our guides as we take our first steps, and they are our anchor as we venture forth. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Brown and his family as they grieve his father’s passing.
And in honor of and in loving tribute to his father’s memory, Adam Brown plans to run in the London Marathon coming up in 2014 (right) and he seeks donations for the British Heart Foundation via a Just Giving site he set up. My husband and I have made a modest donation, but every little bit helps when coupled together with other people’s modest donations. So don’t be shy in thinking that your donation is too small if you are thinking about making a donation. Just give if you wish to. Thanks to Michaela Servetus and to Morrighan’s Muse for each pointing me to this poignant donation opportunity via their respective blog posts about it.
2) Love of Love–Like many little girls growing up, I wanted to meet my handsome Prince Charming who would be good and kind and brave and faithful. I even have a rhinestone princess tiara tucked away somewhere. Ha! And it goes without saying that Prince Charming would be handsome. Because in our eyes filled with love, our beloved is always handsome or beautiful. I married my sweetheart 24 years ago. He is my Prince Charming. And I know how lucky I am since I went for so long–until I was twenty-eight years old–before I found love.
And yet, experiencing Richard Armitage (right, N&S, epi2, pix 116 at ranet) portraying John Thornton in love with the unattainable Margaret Hale portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 period drama North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell was like a lightening bolt that rejuvenated my then complacent notions of romance when I viewed the dvd in February 2010–exactly four years ago. Let’s just say Grati’s romanticism blossomed and my romantic writing unfurled. North & South is a love story of passion that transcends time. And Richard Armitage portraying John Thornton was a worthy prince seeking his princess. As we all know, John and Margaret clashed at first, but eventually they came to know, and to respect, and to love each other.
The final train station kissing scene in North & South–where the two star crossed lovers finally give their hearts to each other–is by far the most romantic love scene that I have ever seen–or that I will probably ever see. And the artist Delusional Fangirl created such a beautiful graphic (below) capturing this North & South moment at Perry’s request for her Armitage Agonistes blog and her RA World Secret Valentine for Trudy Brasure that I wanted to share the original image here with you, as kindly shared with me by Perry. I added the artist’s name to the image because I always like to know who made the artwork in order to credit them and to look for more of their art. But the credit line is an easily erasable place should you wish to adapt the graphic as Perry did with her lovely haiku poem. Be sure to credit Delusional Fangirl for the lovely image. Enjoy!
N.B. Update from Delusional Fangirl: The watercolor flowers were by another artist from an image that she found on the web. But she paired watercolor with the images of John and Margaret from North & South.
3) Love of Girl Scouts Cookies–Next to great friendships and great romance, love of Girl Scout Cookies ranks right up there for me. Snap! I sold Girl Scouts cookies when I was a 6 year old Brownie and then later as full fledged Girl Scout in my later elementary school years. The cookie sales raise funds for the Girl Scouts organization nationally and locally. A colleague’s daughter is our current cookie connection for these yummy confections. But if you need to find your cookie connection, visit Girl Scouts Organization in the US. And to further entice you, follow this link to Meet the Cookies (below)!
I think the Girl Scouts Cookies deserve a poll. Which is your favorite cookie? Can you guess mine?
As I grow older, I find myself feeling more grateful for my life, for my family, and for my friends–near and far, especially my friends in the Richard Armitage Fandom. Blessings and gifts of friendship that I never could have imagined have enriched my life because of our shared interest in the creative works of Mr. Richard Crispin Armitage. We are admirers of an exquisitely talented man in Richard Armitage (right) — whose personal grace and purity of spirit shines through in his character portrayals, personal interviews, and kind benevolence toward his fans.
No, Richard Armitage is not perfect, nor are we. But in admiring a man who strives to illuminate the human condition in all of its beauty and with all of its flaws–and to bring literature and storytelling to wider audiences–it causes us to reflect, to discuss, and to rethink how we situate ourselves within the world. At least, that is the impact it has on me. And I feel more engaged with using my meager creative talents than I have ever been. Finding my courage to share my writing and such with my readers is due to Mr. Richard Armitage and his example of fearlessness in his dramatic character portrayals–and certainly in him facing his fears in stunt scenes. [As an aside to directors, Mr. Armitage has paid his dues with regard to water scenes–submarines, waterboarding (twice), rapids in barrels, etc. Enough already! Give the poor man a break. Ha!]
So, thank you, Richard Armitage. I wish you a wonderful life–I wish you every happiness that you wish for yourself–and more artistic projects for us to enjoy.
And to close, please enjoy this lovely video of the liltingly charming Shaker folk song Simple Gifts , with the cello played by Yo-Yo Ma and the words sung by Alison Krause in a video by beanscot:
And here are the lyrics to Simple Gifts for my readers who wish to translate the words into their language:
“ ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.”