For Valentine's day, I planted an apple tree for my wife. A bit of a strange gift but we have a bit of a strange relationship. As I planted it, I was struck by a realization. Planting a plant presumes a sense to cultivate some sense of order and beauty in a world where chaos is the natural order. You have to water it, spread manure around it, weed it, prune it. Without resilience, without diligence, without understanding, things tend to fall apart. Even with all that, there's no guarantee that it will survive and produce fruit. Loving, truly loving someone embodies that same sentiment. Love is not some sentimental emotion. It's an act of defiance against the natural order. It's holding on to the notion that in spite of all the pain in our lives, something beautiful and worthwhile exists. Not for the faint of heart, it's sticky, it's difficult, it's painful and it takes enormous amounts of work. But there are days of late when I feel that my love for her is all that I have left to hold onto. And as I sit and look at that tree, it couldn't have been a more meaningful and beautiful shrine to our relationship.