One day, not too long after Helen learns to communicate, she brings Miss Sullivan some violets. When Miss Sullivan tries to kiss her in response, Helen resists the embrace, at that time only liking her mother to kiss her. So instead, Miss Sullivan writes "I love Helen" in her hand.
Helen, of course, doesn't understand what the word love means and asks Miss Sullivan about it. To explain it, Miss Sullivan indicates Helen's heart, but this still makes no sense to Helen. She only understands concrete images.
Finally, one day, Helen is able to understand the word "think," another abstract word, and this leads her back to love. She asks Miss Sullivan if it is like the sun coming out after a rainy day. Miss Sullivan explains that love is not something concrete that can be seen or held but rather a "sweetness":
"Love is something like the clouds that were in the sky before the sun came out," she replied. Then in simpler words than these, which at that time I could not have understood, she explained: "You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything. Without love you would not be happy or want to play."
The beautiful truth burst upon my mind—I felt that there were invisible lines stretched between my spirit and the spirits of others.