Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Starting in Italy (the land of Love) in Ponte Milvio, tons of Italians have created a new love tradition of putting locks up on the bridge and throwing the keys to the river below. It’s a landmark of Italian love on a bridge that dates back to 206 BC (NY Times). However, thousands of locks and chains began to be placed all over the landmark and because of vandalism and the destruction of a few lamp posts the government erected six steel posts for couples to announce their love for one another with locks hanging from these newly constructed poles. It’s a big deal in Italy to be anti-love so something had to be one for this new-found tradition.
“Built in 206 BC, the bridge attracted lovers long ago. Tacitus, the first-century Roman historian and statesman, reported that even in his time it was “famous for its nocturnal attractions”. Emperor Nero, Tacitus said, visited the bridge “for his debaucheries”. (It is also the place where in 312, Constantine defeated his rival Maxentius. He became the first emperor to convert to Christianity, which to many Italians stands against the sort of love often found on Ponte Milvio.)”
I’d like to take this moment to just simply put out there that this tradition was started with an older author named Moccio, who dreamt up the romantic lock and key gesture for his novel that went on to sell 1.1 million copies. After people began reading the novel, the tradition started and Moccio was aghast at the idea that his art was being imitated by life. He claims it is because people don’t dream or hope enough and now they have been given something to hope for. I couldn’t agree with more with this statement, and just proves what a profound statement a book can make on the world around it.
There are a few other tales of these love padlocks in China and other places in Europe. Including this short little one from Florence: “The tradition is said to have originated during the 1960s, when Italian soldiers began sticking their wardrobe padlocks on Florence’s Ponte Vecchio bridge.” (The Daily Telegraph).
Not only is this a tradition in Italy, but in Sydney, Australia, people have started the tradition here locking “love locks” to a certain snake bridge winding into Wollongong. And I was lucky enough to feel all this love in the air as I walked across the bridge picturing all these couples who have given their hearts to someone else, full of trust and hope and all the rhythmical dancing a heart can do and thrown away the key into the ocean below. The bridges name is rightly “The Sea Cliff Bridge” because it is right between cliffs and sea (I’m guessing).
With a little online researching, I found a news article with the couple who started the tradition in Sydney after visiting Italy, and their romantic little story can be read here:
What can I say, I love spreading love. Wow, and I’m a bit corny while spreading it, huh?
Not only have I taken a ton of pictures of locks I especially liked that I’ll post below, but my good friend Nat wrote a really touching blogs about what human hearts can do, and how mysterious they can be with their pumping, and pounding, and their always original musical rhythm.
I was going to share a few of my favorite parts with everyone, and then write a bit of my own idea of the human heart, since obviously, in my 22 years my heart has been; pounded, smashed, stomped on, cuddled, danced with, flirted with, gazed out, stalked, cried on, cried to, broken and put back together with strawberry shortcake band-aids, matched, and mismatched, and gone through a panic attack (not even close to the stroke my grandmother’s heart had to go through or the break that she had when she realized she was only speaking “do-do-do” instead of actual words, but that’s another story entirely).
Onto Nat’s mini-post, that she will be surprised I’ve posted bits of if she reads this, but it was beautiful and I think it deserves to be shared. It’s always wonderful to have writing friends who can you look at and look up too.
“Your heart works 24 hours a day for less than minimum wage.
It never asks for a 10 minute smoke break.
It would much rather work for you.
Your heart knows how to sing.
It is a well-seasoned dancer, and if you ever asked your heart to write you a poem or paint you a landscape (or even a portrait), I’m certain that it could do that in 2.5 seconds flat without an ounce of hesitation.
Your heart almost always colors inside the lines, but when it doesn’t, it’s still beautiful.”
And then she went on to elaborate about her OWN heart. And in doing so, inspired me to do the same. So, before I read hers I’m going to write about mine, and where it’s at right now to make me feel a bit better about my homesickness for good ol’ Raleigh, NC.
My heart pays ungodly amounts of money to send letters all over the world to people who don’t even want letters, and may even refuse to lick envelopes because they’ve seen the Susan Seinfeld episode too many times.
My heart has a thing for fast cars and fast hands, even though my mom wouldn’t want to read that, I’m putting it out there.
My heart can jump rope inbetween my ribs and sometimes double jumps on Sunday’s when it has friends over after church for Fried Chicken, to get itself greasy and racing.
My heart misses its cat, because it too is an old cat lady, with an old soul and a red hat of veins atop its car bopping & dancing head.
My heart hopes I begin to love Australia as much as I love Raleigh because it’s working double time over here trying to mend itself from jetlag, and mixed meats and new foods and trains, which it has never been on before, but quite likes to smile at all the people looking out the windows wishing they, too we’re at home with the hearts they love.
I know this blog post was very corny, and most of the males in my life probably only got through half of it, including my dad who knows straight away when he doesn’t like one of my short stories – and yet still believes one day he will get a Lexus because I will have a bestselling novel. And you know what, my heart believes in both him, and the novel. Here are some lovely locks of love, (You’ve got my heart and thrown away the key). Enjoy the love that surrounds you everywhere.