I am not a romantic person, but I have lived in romance most of my life. What I mean—I am not interested in music and flowers, Empire State Building meetings, guitars and campfires for two. Mostly, that kind of thing makes me too aware of myself and the fragile nature of relationship.
But I do have, really, the same fragile relationship to landscape. Or maybe it’s more solid, since the land has no interest in winning my affections; it could care less whether it won me or lost me. No, the wooing is entirely on my end—a constant calling and hanging up, anonymous gifts at the door, a longing for…what? A note slipped to me during third period saying, 'yes, yes, your blood is from the salt of these coast-stones and your feet belong in seagrass.'
The truth is, I’m a New Englander and have been all my life. The deeper truth is that I’m a Mainer and have been since before I lived here. I have lived here in my ancestors (literally) and in my spirit (figuratively) since I was old enough to see a photo of a rocky coast and the bones in my body literally ached with the longing to return there.
But this romance hasn’t been easy. Well, the landscape hasn't been easy. But we live in a time where the rules, the debts, the government intrude on our romantic fantasies (human or otherwise), and to live here takes more than love, although love makes it possible, I suppose. Love is what gets me through my six-day workweek, my desperation for solvency, my hope that I’m doing the right thing, and a nagging paranoia that I’ve never done the right thing in my life.
That’s the point of romance, after all—to lift us above human worries into the realm of the divine, which is the only place love can exist. It is the music of the heart and the blood, whether played on the instrument of another heart or the music of the tides.