Buzz Summer Camp Directory

Heart to Heart

Perhaps love is just waiting to be noticed

Cindy Gabriel
Click the Buzz Me button to receive email notifications when this writer publishes a new article or a new article in this column is published.
Jaime Westendarp

NATURE HAS A CRUSH ON YOU Paul Bulencea, the friend who helped Jaime Westendarp see she was surrounded by mushrooms, took this picture in Transylvania, Romania. (Photo: Paul Bulencea)

Stan’s 31-year-old niece, Jaime Westendarp, a gifted writer, poet, and nature lover, recently found herself in the middle of a forest in Transylvania, Romania, of all places. 

On that day in the woods, Jaime said her Romanian friend showed her how to spot a particular kind of mushroom growing on the ground. First the friend showed her a single mushroom, then asked her to look back at the forest floor. “All of a sudden that same mushroom was everywhere,” Jaime said. “I was surrounded by mushrooms; I just couldn’t see it until I recognized that one.”

That realization in the Romanian forest inspired her to write a few verses.

Nature has a big fat crush on you. She wants you to check her out, notice her many outfits and feel her naked.

Flirt with her, dance with her, playyyyyyy with her.

When she shines and when she fades; when her tenderness entices, when her titan force terrifies; say wow over and over and over.

Offer up your only real resource: presence. Sacrifice your lifeblood: time.

The reward? A feast of sensory delights; a holding, a merging, satisfying the true craving underneath all that humans crave; life nourishing life. Yum.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For you are paying whether you pay or not; for your caress of her, is also hers of you. – Jaime Westendarp

Every February I think, great, I get to write about love. But then I think, wow, this is hard. Lately I’ve been noticing my thoughts, examining my motives, and keeping my mouth shut until my motives improve. Yep, I’m feeling edgy. 

What’s fascinating about Jaime’s mushroom story is that nothing changed in her surroundings, just her perception about what was actually there. Perhaps the world isn’t as dark as it seems. The truest reality is that the mushrooms had been there all along. 

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi, a 13th century Sufi poet

Nick Cave, an Australian singer/songwriter, speaks and sings with a kind of dark compassion that has emerged from the devastating loss of a child. Back in 2015, Nick and his wife Susie’s teenage son Arthur, a twin, died suddenly after a fall from a cliff. In a recent interview with Krista Tippett on her podcast On Being, Nick said, “I don’t see the world the way it was before. It’s much more complex and fragile.” 

Cave said he just acted in his grief without thinking, doing whatever arose in him. One result of this is a website called The Red Hand Files ( Here he invites anyone to ask him a question of any kind. Some are submitted from fans of his band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Others are from those dealing with loss and grief, and still others are looking for his wise insights into the dilemmas of our current times. 

One questioner asked about how to live in our age of cynicism and cruelty. Kind of like the mushroom story, Cave sees a different reality.

…I think we are living through a frightening and deeply uncertain time, and though there are dementing and cynical voices out there, which are being emboldened and amplified by social media — that loony engine of outrage — they do not represent the voice of the many, or the good. My experience of actual people in this time is overwhelmingly positive — there is a great deal of love and mutual regard and community. I think most of us understand that in order to rise above this particular moment, we must pull together and act with civility, generosity and kindness. We have a monumental task ahead of us that will require vast reserves of energy….

Negative, cynicism and resentment will not do. ‘We must love one another or die.’

That last line “We must love one another or die” is the last line in a poem called September 1, 1939, the starting date of World War II, written by W.H. Auden at another frightening time. Perhaps the only counter to extreme hate is extreme love. Perhaps love is just waiting to be noticed. Perhaps it’s been here all along. Perhaps we will find ways to love as if our very lives depended on it. 

I made a point today of noticing people laughing, hugging, and basically being kind to each other. It actually does happen over and over on a daily basis. The vast majority of us want the world to be a peaceful, loving place and try to be peaceful, loving people. What we don’t see is the power of that. We seem to have lost our ability to see our own collective inner power. Love is stronger than we think. But it’s mysterious and sneaks up in interesting, creative ways. In us, love is everywhere, like those mushrooms in the forest. It’s the truest reality.

To leave a comment, please log in or create an account with The Buzz Magazines, Disqus, Facebook, or Twitter. Or you may post as a guest.