I am not specifically referring to a significant other’s love or to being in a relationship. Romance is a moment and is emotion. Romance of a sunset, of a city, of a flower, a mountain. THE Rain, a storm. I hear only complaints about it, whereas I just want to give myself in to the wind ruffling my hair. (although I’d let Mark Ruffalo’ my hair anytime, if you know what I mean) The sound of a river, even a tiny one. The romance of a dance. Do you know what it actually means to dance with someone? People just throw their hands in the air now and call it dancing. To feel connected to your partner, to feel grounded and led through movement… that’s romantic. To feel a song flooding through your slinky veins. Stomping in mud, except not like Louis Litt is doing in Suits, but for fun. Wanting to stay MORE is romantic. Travelling in a purposeful way.
Let’s rewind this tape a bit.
Romanticists valued, among others, one’s free expression of feelings and emotions, especially directed towards art, and the connection with nature above all! According to Britannica, “ Romanticism emphasized the individual, the subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental.” That’s great, if you ask me. And it’s precisely a part of the subject you’re reading now.
Translated in nowadays’ rush, I would title it: appreciation and letting it sink in, or sinking in the landscape. Maybe somewhere we’ve lost the art of being romantic about our lives. A poem I’m dedicating to someone might look silly. Reading on the subway could be seen as “gosh, look who’s trying to impress nobody”. Whenever we experience something, we feel the URGE to upload a picture of it, write about it, snapchat-it, whatever, instead of taking the time to process it. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
While this can be about our time, it’s more about a will to appreciate the unappreciated, the belittled beauty, or a will to be calm, to enjoy truly and fully. Take, for example, silence. Why do we always have to be fiddling around, doing something, instead of … staying still and looking around?I don’t even want to get into the subject of how J.K. Rowling’s Dementors are for real and they’re trapped in our smartphones. I find it pretty romantic to find time to stay still, empty, but so full at the same time.
Inhale. Exhale. When was the last time you noticed your breathing?
You. Are. Breathing.
John Keats, a Romanticist himself, writes it very profoundly:
“ A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”
I see my life as a very romantic one, successfully romantic enjoying the perks of the modern world. Perhaps I’m more of a conservative than a progressive person, because I always seem to go back to the classics, to music, old-school styles, I think they call it “being an old soul”. It’s trapped inside my body!!! But it’s ok. SO. I’m all in for being connected today, but connected in three ways: connected to the world, connected with the people around (the relationships we create) and connected with ourselves. I just made this up so if it’s a thing somewhere, well… The first connection is the easiest — with the world (technology really helps, look at Social Media), to attain the second is alright, needs dedication and empathy though:), but to achieve the third, I think it requires a lot of the nature and the appreciation for the small art in our daily lives (not necessarily art like what you see in the museum), the pristine beauty the Romantics were talking about.
Sinking … in and out
Sometimes this undervalued beauty is found in the simplest of things. I remember a time in Lebanon, when we were visiting a farm (Taanayel, if you ever stop by). They had stables with horses, a lake, long, summer roads you could take a walk on, and generally a lush of nature around you. I took my goddamn bike and strolled onto the golden-green fields by myself. The road was muddy and thick, as it was on the actual soil, between the vineyard plantations small paths. It was awesome. I didn’t do anything, people. No adventure happened, I didn’t see anything peculiar or hear something bizarre;I just stood there, after I stopped at some point. And then I went back and that was it. But it’s such a nice memory! It’s like a still photograph for me.
Another time in Taiwan we were by the Ocean and it was the first time I’ve ever seen an ocean. I think I sat there on the pebbly beach for an hour, just staring. Yeah, I took some pictures, alright, but to satisfy the modernist in me. The rest of time I was sinking in the landscape. Now that I’m mentioning water, I can recall a moment so clear to me on the Mediterranean Sea’s coast. Sitting on some pointy rocks, at night, people around me. But instead of socializing, I was fascinated by the planes that were sending out small rays of light in their way, passing next to the lighthouse. (they were pretty close to us) I cannot explain the feelings of connectivity I had in that moment. I felt hope. I was thinking how the light of the lighthouse is hope. What a wonderful thing. :)
And about the urge I mentioned above? Whenever I used to read books, I would write about them immediately on my Romanian blog. With quotes, and everything. Now I take some time before I do that. I take time to let the information in the book settle into my head, become clear, raise questions, become like a cube with multiple facets I can look at. If I were to write down about a book I’d just read, my mind would be like a square. But if I take time to reflect, it’s the cube. Can I call something a complete action if I don’t let it get through deeper corners of my mind? I don’t know. But how many of our actions, thoughts and even feelings nowadays are like this? :) We skim through pictures, articles, and the amount of information we absorb is enormous. We don’t know what to do with it, so we don’t do anything. That’s not very romantic …
Despair not! I strongly believe Romance is still out there, the art of romantic living, of appreciating, of stillness in this too rushed, too stressed world. I’m still building it myself. With our willpower and purposefully, we can keep that three-sided connectivity in balance, even live in a tiny bit more meaningful way. I’m a hopeful romantic, oh my.