Nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass and glory in the flower. - Wordsworth.
Most film buffs and people of a certain generation will remember "Splendour in the Grass", starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. There were many dimensions to the film, but for me it was in essence the story of two very young people in love for the first time. Like most stories of this kind, it ended in sadness and loss, and the usual lesson at the end.
Young love will always be the most beautiful of all experiences because it is innocent. It is an opening of the heart to dreams, youthful passion, hope and a sincere belief that there will be a happy ending. Such feelings are universal and timeless; as true today as they were centuries ago.
Almost every adult has had to comfort and counsel a young person through the joy, the pain and the heartbreak of this first rite of passage into the adult world of relationships. It is doubly poignant because most of us have experienced the same feelings and realised, as everyone does, that the intensity and the beauty of first love are ephemeral, not that it diminishes the value of what we felt.
Human experience enriches our lives, and the remembrance of first love can evoke in us all the wonders of those first joyful feelings of connecting with an 'other.' The excitement of the first special look, the first dance, or the first walk in the moonlight all come back to make us smile, and look back with nostalgia to a younger, more carefree time.
First love is a preparation for the more mature relationships to follow. For some people there are several more 'young loves,' so to speak, before they settle down. Every one of these experiences is a necessary part of emotional growth, and imbues people with both caution in their choices and an understanding of their priorities. They prepare the young, and indeed even the more mature, to look for a partner who embodies the qualities needed to make for a long lasting, committed relationship.
The mature relationship can never have the heart-stopping ecstasy of first love, but it can be warmer, more substantial in its comforts, and far more durable, based as it is on shared goals, mutual understanding and a depth of feeling based on both dreams and reality.