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More Hearts February 16, 2011

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I am not a big fan of occasions that make people feel (a) excluded or (b) obligated to do a particular something at a particular time. Obviously, that means I’m not big into Valentine’s Day. I’m not really against it—I just don’t care. Maybe I would care more if I was alone, but when I was alone—well, I didn’t care then either.

That said, every year I receive a homemade Valentine from my octogenarian boyfriend, and every year I am thrilled to receive it. (This year he enclosed a couple of flicker feathers. Be still, my heart.)

I am back in Portland for a couple of days, and when I left the hotel to meet the gang for lunch, I saw them: the hearts. Large, single bright-red hearts printed on 8½ x 11 bright-white sheets of paper taped to every storefront and business window—not just one per business, but one per window. All over town. Everywhere. Hundreds of them. This was clearly not a cooperative business effort, but the act of Someone (or, more likely, Someones).

I learned that the Valentine Bandit—aka the Valentine Phantom—strikes every year. Every Valentine’s Day, the city wakes up to all these hearts. “The earliest known occurrence of this phenomena was 1976 in Portland, Maine,” states Wikipedia. Since then, the tradition has been taken up in Montpelier, Vermont (my state capital!), and Boulder, Colorado (home of my octogenarian boyfriend). Who knew? (Obviously, many, many people. Where have I been?)

I can’t explain it, but walking past all those hearts on Monday made me feel happy. It felt like equal-opportunity love, loving-everybody love. It felt unconditional, like the Someones just want to share the love and don’t expect anything in return. A gift.

Of course, Monday was also suddenly sunny, and temperatures rose to 50ish degrees. Maybe I would have felt the bliss even without the hearts.


1. Dona - February 16, 2011

Now that’s a Valentine’s Day tradition I like.

2. LisaS - February 16, 2011

me too. i think we need a Valentine Bandit here in STL.

3. Lali - February 16, 2011

Ah, the Someones! Is that who one addresses prayer equivalents to?

Yesterday a huge red heart-shaped V-day balloon landed in our woods, just far enough that we wondered what that big red thing hanging from a tree was (of course we couldn’t go investigate, because of the 10′ of snow).

4. helen - February 16, 2011

Love it!

5. Mali - February 17, 2011

I really like that!

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