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Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Heart-struck by an eternal embrace

February 12, 2014|By Joe Puglia

They died young, probably during late adolescence. However by the looks of it, they were in love. Two 6,000-year-old prehistoric skeletons from the Neolithic period were found locked in an eternal embrace in Valdaro, near Verona, Italy, hidden from the eyes of humanity. It could be the oldest love story.

Verona is where Shakespeare set the star-crossed lover’s tale “Romeo and Juliet.” Incidentally, Verona is the same area where Giuseppe Verdi set the opera “Rigoletto,” the story of doomed lovers.

Archaeologists believe the find has more emotional than scientific value. The lovers were adolescents of the Neolithic age, a formative period in the evolutionary development of society. It was during the Neolithic era when religious, societal and emotional sentiments were formed, particularly relative to family and village. Thus scientists and anthropological experts assert that the lovers’ embrace with arms and legs leave little doubt that their final connection was born out of deep sentiment.

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The remarkable story of the Lovers of Valdaro aligns with the aura of love. Although we compose music, write love songs, prose and love stories we hardly scratch the surface attempting to intellectualize love’s phenomenology. Subsequently we encapsulate its mystery in story and wonder. For example, the speculation over the prehistoric Lovers of Valdaro has intrigued the academic and scientific communities. Who were they? How did they die? You’d think by the way they were found they suffered the same fate of Romeo and Juliet.

Nearly every month of the year holds a celebration or observance to some ancient ritual or feast. But February, least favored by the gods, was in need of a special saint. Here was an unexpected opportunity to celebrate mythic love attempting to explain the attraction of the Lovers of Valdaro.

This scene depicting love’s intrigue is prone for a miracle. St. Valentine is there and takes tenderness to heart and soothes sadness with generous applications of hope springing eternal. The patron saint of love is human and understands sadness and sorrow associated with loneliness. He brings hope. Who else is best skilled to ease our loneliness? St. Valentine, and his first sergeant, Cupid, cardiac specialist extraordinaire, effortlessly mends those stinging moments of longing. Whatever we can’t understand we drown in mythology.

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