“The Gust that Extinguishes the Flame”
To say there are many types of love in one lifetime is like saying there are many stars in the sky. All stars burn. They burn with varying degrees of intensity and heat. One type of love is like an igniting a match. A spark ignites a burning, intense flame upon contact with the rough surface. The match-tip, primed and ready to ignite, makes contact on a coarse surface and “snap.” Fire.
This love burns with all of the intensity it can muster, quickly sucking in the surrounding oxygen, burning down through the quick and into the stem. Rapidly, it progresses until the heat becomes too unbearable for the fingers that desperately grasp it. Either the hand gives up, shaking out the flame or releasing it. Every now and then, beyond our control a sudden gust extinguishes the flame; sometimes even the brightest flames can be extinguished by the subtlest drafts. If our flame resists, we even allow it to reach the tip of our fingertips where it runs out of the timber it needs to burn, forever singing and damaging the nerve endings, so that next time we won’t feel the heat as intensely.
The other type of love burns more steadily, with less heat but with more constancy. Perhaps the violent explosion of a match ignited a set of coals set deep into white sand or a coniferous forest floor. Nonetheless, the coals are lit and begin to glow in soft amber, dull orange and traces of crimson. Flames might dance, teasingly, across the surface, like ice-skaters on a pond, never staying for too long. Sometimes you might observe the coals to be deeply black and cool, but you extend your hand to rest on top of them and the warmth enlivens even the numbest nerves in your fingers.
A solid gust of wind or breath can stir the fire sleeping sullenly within the coals themselves. Ironically, it is sometimes this same gust of wind that extinguished the match, which becomes the breath of life to light the coals. One flame vanishes as quickly as it appeared; another, softer, gentler source of warmth takes hold, waiting to be energized, to be fed and fueled.
A single lump of coal, course, gritty, and black, will burn steadily for as long as there is the slightest bit of fuel to sustain it. The match, however gloriously bright and passionate, is quick to devour its own fuel source and unreliable in the softest breezes.