Valentine's Day is a time to explicitly acknowledge your love for the people that make you happy--your true brothers and sisters whose virtues bring you selfish pleasure and whose spirit you share. The commercial nature of the holiday is a consequence of its egoistic nature, but objects are means not ends. Your values are the ends. You give flowers because the smile they put on her face is an unmistakable sign of her joy. And her joyous experience, her elation at the realization of your devotion, fills you with the unmistakable warmth of inviolate self-esteem.


On specific milestones and the possibility of forever

Our lives have been one of metaphor, yours and mine--what started as the misbegotten communication skills of an erstwhile romantic novice ends only on the other side of here and now, a reminder of the past and a telescopic lens for the yet-to-come.

Our playful word ballet represented, at first, the inability to fully accept reality but the passionate desire to do just that. There was no conscious evasion--only exploration and exhalation and eventually a certain euphoria in midst of it all. Metaphoria. The pleasure of the pirouettes, anticipatory arabesque, figuring out the steps as we go while simultaneously changing the time. We knew the song and we didn't--not a contradiction but an admission of naive optimism, of half-knowledge with epistemic willingness.

Here the greater symphony reaches a milestone, a page turn as it enters a new movement still furiously being composed--this etude évoquant an "excuse" to say, "Thank you"--a phrase far too often neglected among friends.

You are the accumulation of your accomplishments over the past quarter-century. And if I am to be an objective judge of that sum, then I pronounce a verdict of "awesome"--"an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime."

And what I have accomplished through you--your Lockean claim to ownership--is both sacred and sublime, if those words are to have any real meaning. And it should invoke in you a feeling of unmitigated pride. It should emanate through your being a chorus of triumph with soaring melody and fastidious rhythm.

Dismiss that counter-melody that leads to misstep. The one that makes a pseudo-claim to a world without dancing. There are always steps to take, notes to hear, counterpoint to untangle. There will always be a new movement to compose and a new scene to choreograph. There is no shortage of adventure in the lives of two people who know what it means to live.

For what you've done and what you will do, in this 200th post of an endeavor you helped to build, I say: Thank you, immensely.

Happy 25th birthday.

less than three,