Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hearts Galore

I fell into collecting photos of hearts purely by accident. Because of something I read about the shape of deer hoofs looking heart-shaped, I began photographing those shapes in the snowy field behind our house. When I was doing a church service last year just before Valentine's Day, I spoke about the heart and about the heart-shaped hoofprints and how 'love is all around'. After that service, a friend emailed me a photograph of a heart she saw in the snow, the shape made by a twig and its shadow.
From that moment, the collecting was on.
The more you look to see hearts, the more you see. Right now, there is a Scotsburn milk truck parked across the street from the Journal office, making a delivery to the SaveEasy. The glass-of-milk graphic on the side of the truck has bubbles in it -- and I can see a heart-shaped bubble.
My Field Notes column this week is about a very special heart. There are fascinating facts about the heart that I couldn't fit in the column so here they are:

  • Every day, your heart sends over 7500 litres of blood coursing through your body. A kitchen faucet would need to be turned on all the way for 45 y ears to equal the amount of blood pumped through a body in an average lifetime.
  • Every day, your heart beats about one hundred thousand times. That creates enough energy to drive a truck 32 kilometers. 

But where did the heart shape we associated with love and Valentine's Day and every "I heart New York" T-shirt come from?
From what I can gather, in the 11th and 12th centuries, when artists began depicting the idea of a heart, an upside-down pine cone, point up, was used to represent the heart in paintings. Apparently, the shape of leaves, like a fig leaf, influenced the image as well.
It's suggested that by the 14th century, this point-up image was flipped and over time, this is the shape that emerged as the universal graphic representing the heart.

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