Some people see faces in the clouds. Others see castles (ice-cream castles, if you’re the wonderful Joni Mitchell). Still others see patterns (and fortunes) in tea leaves. Me, I see hearts everywhere.
Heart-shaped leaves. A heart in the shape of a spontaneously sliced red bell pepper. Heart-shaped potato chips. (Although the champion of finding potato-chip shapes has to be this charming lady who visited the Johnny Carson show years ago. Her collection was amazing — her reaction when she thought Johnny was biting into one of them is classic Carson. Take a look: https://bit.ly/39oLDjz).
But back to me and my hearts. I’m not sure when it started, but seeing a heart shape — in a puddle, a stray thread, an imperfectly rolled meatball, a seashell, a casually thrown sock, in all kinds of things encountered in an ordinary day — has become part of who I am.
I’m not talking about things deliberately designed as hearts — cookies and candles, Valentines and chocolates, earrings and lollipops, and on and on (although I will admit to owning two pairs of earrings with tiny dangling hearts). I mean the kind of random impressions that pop up like surprises each time I see them.
Annoyingly adorable? To some, probably. The sign of an eternal optimist? I wish, although it’s really hard, especially these days, for me to claim that title. A sign of a creative temperament? Given that I have doodled hearts on notebook covers and page margins for years, why not.
Or perhaps it’s the sign of someone who has spent a lifetime believing in happily ever after.
Yeah, I know. Happily ever after is the stuff of fairy tales and children’s stories, right? Well, yes and no. That perfectly idyllic, nothing-bad-ever-happens, everything’s-rosy, effortlessly worry-free existence — that’s not real. And that’s not life. But finding pieces of personal happiness and fulfillment, and having days that are absolute jewels, friends to treasure, and a life partner who is truly a piece of my heart — maybe this is what happily ever after means. It’s not perfect. It’s not easy. And it’s not all hearts and flowers.
Maybe seeing hearts in everything is a sign that looking for joy — whatever that may mean at any given moment — is a sign of hope. Of an eternal optimist in training. I like that.
Or maybe it’s a sign that I really need to cut back on those heart-shaped chocolates.
Heart to tell.
©2021 Claudia Grossman