One of my favourite comic book series of all time was Books of Magic, which I’m firmly convinced was the inspiration for Harry Potter. The hero of Books of Magic is Tim Hunter, a bespectacled, 12-year-old British boy who discovers (with the help of John Constantine, among others) that he is one of the most powerful magicians of all time. Tim is joined, at times, by various Earthly, fay and demonic companions, one of whom is Leah, a succubus who falls in love with Tim. At one point Leah gets into an argument with a partially amnesiac Cupid over what love is. She says,
Love is like running through the rain with an umbrella made of fire…or being lost inside a cave, and lying down and trying to touch the ceiling — No…that’s not quite right… Love is like being the tiniest little bird… And swallowing the moon.
I’ve always felt a strong affinity for that quote, and along with sunflowers, hummingbirds are the other symbol of love to me. A and I had our marriage certificate calligraphed with a hummingbird and the moon, and our wedding rings depict a hummingbird with a moon (represented by a tiny diamond) in its belly.
This is how I love people: Like a tiny little creature trying to contain this impossibly big, bright thing. Overwhelmed and awestruck. It’s so big, it’s terrifying–you feel like you’re going to break. It’s scary and threatening, and can make you want to close shut against it. But all that space really is inside you. That’s the paradox: you already contain the moon. All you have to do to keep from breaking is open up wide enough to hold it. No, not that. All you have to do is see that you’re already that open.