anonymous flower Dicentra (bleeding heart), Washington State, June 2011

I thought about posting this picture for Valentine's Day but forgot, part of that whole non-sentimental thing mentioned recently. I have had no idea what this pink heart-shaped flower is was (see comments below), but like that the outdated Nikon D50 SLR I traded a Pottery Barn sleeper sofa and armchair set for a couple of years ago (i.e., "traded" means sold the furniture on Craigslist and then bought the camera from someone else a few months later on Craigslist) lets me feel like a photographer. Plus, I enjoy sitting on the floor.

When I was a kid taking pictures with a cheap little rectangular Kodak film camera that had a square lightbulb on top, I thought the grainy photos of the rattlesnake my grandfather cut in half with a shovel in the yard and my first trip to Disneyland where my recently divorced dad lost my younger sister for a half hour (what was I off doing, taking pictures?) meant I was a bad photographer; now I know it's the camera. (At some point I should probably figure out what I'm doing with a camera and graduate to the manual settings that require actual knowledge of light and exposure.)

But what I wanted to say was that driving home from work last night, listening to Radiohead's OK Computer, I briefly got teary at the line in "Fitter Happier": "fond but not in love." I never knew as a kid that relationships would be so hard. Adults don't tell you that, either.

Isn't 'fond' better than 'in love?' (I confounded a boyfriend once for whom English was a second language by telling him I loved him but wasn't in love with him.) Fondness tends to last if you truly like the person, flaws and all, rather than relying on hyped-up mating chemicals that wear off. Over the weekend I watched Kristin Scott Thomas in Leaving (Partir), and, boy, can love chemicals make a person crazy. But I was also jealous; 'fond' can feel . . . tame. And yet even within 'fond' I can act foolish, dissatisfied—never enough. Is there a line to learn to walk somewhere between pink hearts and rattlesnakes? He says I'm scary, while underneath, I'm so fond.

Edited to add: Politically relevant, here Rebecca Solnit discusses Occupy's honeymoon phase in "Mad, Passionate Love—and Violence: Occupy Heads into the Spring."


  1. The lovely flower is a Dicentra - a bleeding heart. There are more cultivated varieties with larger leaves and showier blossoms in bright pink, deep red or true white, but the ones here are the native version.

  2. Thank you for the identification. Of course you would know this, dear friend.


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