I'm always amazed by the things that can be created from a simple prompt. This year's Valentiny prompt was to write a Valentine's story about being brave. Immediately I imagined a fantastical scene, where a mystical tree of the best kinds of Valentines stood at the end of a long and arduous journey. I think it says a lot about the commitment and bravery it takes to nurture and honor love, not just in its romantic form, but every love the world gives us to cherish.
The Gift Tree
The Tree grows from the highest peak of Valentine Mountain. Strange and wonderful tokens of Real Love droop from the branches: missing pieces, tender stories, invisible crowns.
Of course, the way is perilous and you must go alone. For the courage to brave the high and ragged cliffs, tuck a memory of your loved ones into your shirt pocket. Your mom. Your grandma. Yourself.
First, the rocky meadow. The Tree seems so close. But as you climb, it looks further and further away. Trust your earnest heart that you are going in the right direction.
When the path dips into the forest, you will lose sight entirely. In the darkness, brambles will snag your clothes and hair. When you fall over a log and into a tree, it will be ok to cry and shout. That will make your heart stronger.
So when you emerge at the base of the cliff and look up, up at the tower so tall you’re sure it will topple, you will be ready to climb, tremulously, with your memories in your pocket, to the plateau.
And there is the Tree. For your mother, the gentle tenacity of wildflowers. For grandma, the song she lost as a girl. And for you, three words you never thought you could say.