Vision: Horns, Flutes & Waterfalls by Howard Hanger

August 4, 2016 |

“When I was a kid,” she said as she huffed and wheezed up the trail, “I remember some preacher saying that according to the Greeks, there were three kinds of love. One was Eros – I remember that one. Another was Philia, like from Philadelphia; but I can’t remember the other one.”

Agape,” her boyfriend said between gasps. “Can we sit down for a minute?”

“Best idea we’ve had today,” she panted. “That’s right. Agape. Like God love, right? Unconditional.” They spotted a flat rock jutting out of the side of the mountain a few yards off the trail and just big enough for two.  They climbed to the rock and sat down together with a unison, “Jesus!” And it was indeed, a prayer of thanks. “How much further is it to this friggin’ waterfall?” she asked.

“Don’t know,” he replied. “Think the guide book said a mile and a half. It just failed to mention that a mile and quarter of it was straight up. But we’re going to love it. Or I sure as hell hope we are.”  The two had been friends for years, lovers for a while and had lately talked about marriage. Like most couples in love, they had shared delicious delight and daunting drama; but they consistently agreed that two of life’s greatest pleasures were good hikes and spontaneous love-making.

“I think the Greeks got it wrong,” she continued, sounding a bit less like an asthmatic. “There are worlds of different kinds of love.  Far more than three.  Although, I do like the Eros thing for sure,” she giggled. “Wasn’t it that Pan guy? Half-goat, half man? Wasn’t he the horny dude who brought Eros into the world?  Gotta love that goat.”

He looked at her with a grin the size of Montana. Over the years he had come to realize that she had an incredible imagination machine. And once she got the wheels turning, he could hop on the back and she’d take him places drugs only dream about. “So what other kinds of love are there?” he asked, almost hearing the start-up whirr of that magically imaginative mechanism.

“OK,” she said, “what about…Sunsetia? Love of sunsets?  Moonglowia? Love of full moons? Chocolatia? Goodsleepia? Bellylaughia? Backrubia?” Her machine was in high gear now. “Goodmovia? Hotbathia? Tiramisuia?  Walkinthewoodsia, Skinnydippia, Travelonia, Boogiewoogia, Barefootia, and who could forget Greatpoopia? Good golly!” she shouted to the hills, “There are so many things to love and so many ways to love.  If you’re not in love all the time, you’re just not paying attention. You can fall in love every day – every minute… ”I,” she declared, “I plan to love my ass off in this life!”

His grin had now encompassed Idaho and much of Yellowstone Park. “Want to get started again?” he asked. He was actually hoping that once they got to the waterfall, a little Eros might kick in.

“Let’s do it,” she said, “after a little kiss.”  He grinned and the kiss was just what was needed to get them the rest of the way.  And the waterfall was, indeed, spectacular – well worth the near-coronary events on the way up.

“I grew up hearing that God is love,” she said. “Isn’t that a cool concept? I mean, if the creator of the universe is love and God is everywhere, then, every moment  – every stinkin’ moment – we are swimming in love, breathing in love, eating and drinking love. And when we die, we will die in love. Don’t know about you,” she said, “but I am in love with that idea and wish religions would teach that. It would surely make me want to go to church more often.”

They sat down and leaned against the trunk of an enormous fallen tree near the base of the waterfall.  They hugged and snuggled tight into each others’ arms. The misty breeze erupting from the falling water baptized the two lovers; and if they hadn’t been so wrapped up in each other, they might have noticed a figure just behind them in the woods, carrying a flute and smelling for all the world like a barnyard.  And, Yes! Pan did have his way and Eros did visit that waterfall that afternoon.