The love we give away is the only love we keep.
– Elbert Hubbard
On a salmon-pink back alleyway in Marrakech, Morocco, I discovered a tribute to love’s enduring and universal nature.
Its medium was white chalk; the hand that drew it undoubtedly belonged to a child; its canvas was a rugged wall. That spring, as I explored an exotic land far from home, the sketch would symbolize to me love’s universal nature.
As I walked Marrakech’s calmer residential lanes solo, aiming to escape the bustling souk (marketplace) and experience Moroccan traditions, I encountered curious children of all ages. One group of boys enthusiastically kicked a soccer ball about. I snapped a photo of them as the ball rolled into the frame, seemingly on cue. I also passed a duo of boys ferrying bread dough to a communal oven for baking. When they saw I had a camera in hand, they hammed it up just long enough for me to capture a shot. Even as they skipped off into the distance, the baking trays remained impressively placed atop their little heads, indicating that they’d had some prior practice at this errand.
A year after that first solo jaunt to Morocco, I would return to the ‘Pink City’ with my mother. She was eager to see the exotic North African escape that had so captivated me with its lantern-making districts, silver mountains of tea paraphernalia, colorful spice pyramids, delicately-flavored foods, and welcoming people. Lost in the labyrinthine passageways, we unexpectedly explored new corners of the legendary city as well as lovely nooks and crannies I’d missed the year before. But one familiar scene alerted me that we’d also tiptoed on paths I’d explored the previous year.
We rounded a corner, and there it was — the same love doodle that had so charmed me the year before! Apparently, love was also quite enduring.
May you celebrate the enduring and universal spirit of love this Valentine’s Day!
Photography & text © by Tricia A. Mitchell . All Rights Reserved.