Romantic Age poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once asked:
“How do I love Thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height.
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.”
Now, that right there, is some serious lovemaking, figuratively speaking. Ms. Browning’s sentiments stick you in the heart like the sharp end of Cupid’s arrow.
Or, for the more literal among us, that kind of love that burns like a five-alarm fire and engulfing the heart like another helping of mama’s stuffed peppers.
The kind of love that lumps up in your throat like a half-swallowed duck egg.
All kidding aside, how do you respond to the words of Ms. Browning’s sonnet? Does your soul plumb the depths, soar the heights?
Who is your soul mate person? What thing do you love to the point of obsession? What place is your spiritual home?
For argument’s sake, let’s say all of us have been besotted by a person at sometime or other. But maybe it is not a person you adore. Maybe it is a place or a thing that tops your chart.
Do they satisfy Ms. Browning’s by-the-numbers emotional inventory? Who is your soul mate person? What thing do you love to the point of obsession? Where is your place – your spiritual home?
No offense to Ms. Browning, but let us not count the ways in numbers, let’s alphabetize them instead. Where is my place? My spiritual home? I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. Here, let me spell it out for you.
C – If Chagrin Falls was a person, it would be crafty and possessed of charm and charisma. As a place, it gets complaints about cars and cycles of the motorized kind. Because he stayed in touch with his roots, the late Tim Conway will remain the pride of Chagrin.
H – This is one Happy place what with a famous Hill named Grove, dedicated to the village’s History and only a few Hipsters, which is a good thing as long as they stay home or at Starbucks.
A – Arts of course in all its forms from visual to performing to filmic and theatric.
G – Great schools including the one named Gurney named in honor of Ted Gurney, a 40- year teacher, mentor and four sport coach who retired in 1966 but not before serving as the district’s athletic director and high school principal. In 1968, the school was named in his honor.
R – A river runs through Chagrin Falls and along its banks are two parks named Riverside and River Run. The town has Restaurants galore and a Riveting and Righteous “block club” Facebook page that serves as a Rant Room minus physical aggression.
I – It is interesting and intriguing that Chagrin Falls (Brigadoon-by-the-Falls) has managed to change and stay the same all at once. The magic is finding a way to reinvent itself each generation without losing its soul.
N – No place like it. No way, no how and nowhere.
F – A pilgrimage to the Main Street falls has been the objective of family road trips for decades. Fidgety kids are rewarded with fudgy ice cream treats if they can make it to get through the afternoon without falling face first into the falls. Chagrin Falls is for families.
A – Antique houses. Antique buildings. Antique stores.
L – The lovely little library. Leafy streets, lush parks and a nature preserve that is like taking a quick walk to the wilderness.
L – (all of the above)
S – Safe Routes Chagrin, the program that seeks to save lives of pedestrians and cyclists of all ages and a successful securer of grants that have funded paths and sidewalks and other communitywide assets with little or no taxpayer involvement.