Today's blog takes an opposing view on love locks for Valentine's Day.
There is a selfishness in the vandalism of placing locks which ruin the view, the environment or endanger a historic structure, just for an Instagram shot. Is it really about love and romance or just about clicks and likes? There are approx. 219,000 posts on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelocks.
What is the symbolism of placing a lock on a chain-link fence for everyone to see? The metal locks will corrode over time, that is, if the lock doesn't get cut off and thrown away first. The young "Fridays for Future" are demonstrating to save the environment. These are the same young people who think nothing of how a heavy, corrosive, metal lock can ruin the environment. It makes no sense.
When I was young, the symbol of "lasting love" was a hand-carved heart on a tree trunk in the woods where we had gone to sneak off from watchful eyes of the family to kiss. It had a nice symbolism: the heart grows as the tree grows. And it was a secret, hidden back in the woods, which only we knew about.
The lovelocks are appearing everywhere, even where you wouldn't expect one to be at an altitude of 1425 meters after a 60 minute hike. They have become a scourge.
The Bianca & Mario heart in photos #1 and #2 enjoys a spectacular view of the Austrian Alps and right now is alone on the fence. When I go on vacation to spend time in nature, I want to enjoy the natural beauty and not see a lovelock.
At least there is not yet the masses of locks like on the Love Rock in Heidelberg. Such a remote location and strenuous hike will keep lazy Instagramers away :-) or at least it has for the past two years now.
Recently, while walking along the shore of the Rhine River near Speyer in Germany, I discovered some individual love locks on a rusted, retired ship named "Paul". See also my blog Unchain My Heart.
Fixating a lock onto a rusty chain on a rotting ship is not the sort of symbolism I would choose if I wanted to represent my love and my relationship.
Perhaps this couple thought of the symbolism in a different way: the strong lock and the thick chains are a symbol of the strength and power which their love has to endure over time.
The cynic in me was awakened when I discovered the absolute pinnacle of commercialism in my local grocery store: a "love lock set" including an engraving pen for just €9,99, on display right next to packages of socks.
That is a sign for me that the love lock trend has transformed from individual and romantic to crassly commercial. However, the trend has peaked now that it's at grocery store level.
My hope is that lovers will find a new and sustainable way to express themselves...
... which doesn't ruin the environment or historical structures...
On this Valentine's Day are you a romantic or a cynic?