A young man, alone in his room in the wee hours of the morning, works diligently on a love letter to the object of his desire and dreams.
In this day, when letters of any kind are becoming a rarity, we may smile wistfully at the thought of a young lover setting pen to paper and slaving for hours to find the right words. Yet for those with a certain type of romantic sensibility, there is nothing more intense, more real, and more profound than a carefully crafted written profession of love.
Touch, personal contact, companionship, and emotionally rich conversation are all clear and easy ways to say "I love you." Why, then, engage in the pensive and solitary ritual of the love letter? Some may find themselves engaged in this rite for practical reasons: the beloved is far away, or turned away by a lovers' quarrel, or perhaps is yet unaware of the amorous feelings that are in motion. But there a reasons of greater romantic depth than these. The love letter rises above the temporal and circumstantial. By putting words to paper, the writer acknowledges heights of love that exceed the passing pleasures of physical company and verbal exchange. He commits himself to a poetic approach to love and to life. He enters a world of glowing ideals, pastel dreams, and sparkling superlatives, and he sanctifies that vision by graving it on paper with permanent ink. Of all the reachers of the Intimacy Tarot, desparately yearning for the object of their adoration, only the Reacher of Thoughts leaves evidence of his love for all to witness, today and through the years to come.
Words of love also tie us into cultural traditions of romance in ways that little else does. The poets of the past are dead, their bodies dissolved, and the objects of their affection long forgotten. But the words remain: "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways", "My love has wings", "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" Love, in some ways, has a life of its own, spanning ages and cultures, touching us before we are swept away by time. The reacher of thoughts is not afraid to touch the part of love that is eternal, to align himself with it, to become its ephemeral vessel.
The dangers of this course are many. Without the beloved present, one's words can move in strange directions, assume their own purpose, disconnected from real life. Love can spiral into the stratosphere, stranding the people who might be bound together by it. Unrequited love, especially, seems to inspire the poetic impulse. The rejected lover uses words to keep his wounds open and livid. Even happy love can suffer from the extremes of sentiment carried by melodramatic words. Some are afraid of the reacher of thoughts, and his flirtation with the eternal side of love.
But for those who recognize the humanity and emotion behind the Reacher's idealism, he is an angel. Without his thirst for hyperbole and vision, love becomes flat, unable to reach beyond itself, unable to risk, to explore, to touch what is larger than life.