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July 21, 2023

La vita è bella!

7:36 a.m. at the coffee shop
I love using the word YES. Three small letters heavy with meaning.
Yes, I love you. Yes, you can. Yes, I agree.
Yes, I will help you. Yes, life is beautiful.

This pretty little word, YES, glides on the horizon like a majestic eagle, and when the snow strikes at our cheeks, he transforms into Santa’s sleigh, filled with presents. The clear tweets of the goldfinch herald summer. Do you hear them? I hear the chirping of the skylarks with their tousled coif even in my slumber. I imagine their song like an orchestra of a thousand “yes, yesses” dressed in tuxedos.

Three divine letters that can seal a marriage. Yes, yes! Or more like seal and destroy it within seconds, you’ll say. YES is probably the most important word in the dictionary. It may not be as decisive and sharp as NO, but it’s filled with hope.

Do you think you could calculate the number of times you say YES each day? And maybe the number of NOs, too? Would you be more of a YES or a NO? I’m going to keep a notepad in my pocket and conduct my own investigation.

I obviously think of myself as a YES as big as Everest! The NO is a bogeyman who scares me. NO often sounds like the pummeling of a hammer. As a child, all I ever heard were these short and decisive blows: no, no, no!

My brother would only very rarely accept to play with us girls. He thought he was so smart. Sitting on the fence in our yard, he spoke of the future and the amazing professions he would later pursue. And we would laugh when we heard him list his future endeavours: elephant trainer in Kenya, magician, spy or the peninsula’s official thrift shop dealer.

I dreamed of big YESSES at that time too. I would fill all the white papers I could get my hands on with black ink. I loved to write and discover new words and their meaning. When I was 11, I received a Larousse dictionary for Christmas and I was ecstatic. Every night, I fell asleep with the huge book of words held close to my heart. I was on cloud nine even when Mom occasionally complained because I asked her to iron pages I had accidentally crumpled.

Really, this wonderful gift was the first of over 30 different dictionaries I bought over time and still keep close to this day. They fill the shelves of an IKEA library in my home. Even if I have Google at my fingertips, I still love to open a scholarly book.

We hesitate between YES and NO very often. Is it possible that we are both brave and cowardly at the same time?

I get the impression that YES is constantly opening its arms in a warm welcome. Would the NO be as important as the YES? A NO closes the door, if you ask me. It turns off the light and doesn’t hear the heart’s cries.

It’s not easy saying YES, but saying NO is just as scary. NO bothers people. More often than not, it disappoints, angers and saddens the one who utters it.

Perhaps we are incapable of choosing a side? To say YES or NO? Maybe it’s the head and the heart opposing each other? Would this mind that never rests be chattier than the heart? More analytical and thoughtful?

We believe that the heart beats and that’s all. But the great inventor, mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal is remembered for his famous saying: “The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know.”

Think about it. The heart beats fast or slow depending on what’s going on. Is it the centre of feeling, emotion and love with a capital L? Today, the symbol for the heart ♥ is universal and is part of the emotional symbolism of our culture.

I recently experienced the most surprising moment of love at first sight simply by admiring the handsome face of a man from the Great North. I will never forget that sensation. I was quietly writing at the coffee shop when my heart started to beat uncontrollably. My heart went boom, boom! This stranger’s blue-black eyes pierced my own, and I felt like I was plugged into the world’s biggest hydroelectric plant. A million tiny YESSES were jumping in my head. A blissful happiness took over me and, when his eyes met mine, I suddenly felt so hot that I thought I’d have to jump into the ice floe to cool down.

All this lasted for a brief moment; the time it took to bite into a few almond croissants and learn that the man was only passing through. If only! What is this divine electricity that pushes beings to seek another, to love and reproduce here on Earth?

Am I going to have to question the angels for the thousandth time?