I stretched my back and started two lists. What does it mean to love a person? What does it mean to love a place? Before long, I had discovered I had made two copies of the same list. To love–a person and a place–means at least this:
One. To want to be near it, physically.
Number two. To want to know everything about it–its story, its moods, what it looks like by moonlight.
Number three. To rejoice in the fact of it.
Number four. To fear its loss, and grieve for its injuries.
Five. To protect it–fiercely, mindlessly, futilely, and maybe tragically, but be helpless to do otherwise.
Six. To be transformed in its presence–lifted, lighter on your feet, transparent, open to everything beautiful and new.
Number seven. To want to be joined with it, taken in by it, lost in it.
Number eight. To want the best for it.
Number nine. Desperately.
Number ten, I wrote in my notebook, To love a person or a place is to accept moral responsibility for its well-being.
–Kathleen Dean Moore, The Pine Island Paradox
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