Friday, February 24, 2012

Speechless, or Without Words

It has happened twice recently.  I have sat, almost paralyzed, as the credits rolled at the end of a movie, unable or undesirous to comment or even speak.  Two different movies; two different reasons to be speechless.

Last night, in an effort to prepare myself for the upcoming Academy Awards Night, I took my girls to see The Artist.  Not a mainstream kind of movie, it was showing at the local artsy film house, Salem Cinema.  Not a mainstream kind of movie, it was a silent picture; a real throwback to the glamorous days before "talkies" and clever dialogue.  Instead, the story moved along with facial expression, body language, and an occasional word strip.

It was a lovely movie.  All were reminded of the nearly lost art of communication without speech.  With all the verbosity, loquaciousness, and self-centered dialogue commonly found in pictures today, this was delightfully refreshing.  And startling.  And stirring.

And at its surprising conclusion, I didn't want to break the spell.  There was a seemingly magic spell cast upon the audience.  We sat in silence, mesmerized by the occasional music and when it was over, it seemed almost garish and disrespectful to speak and disrupt the hush that had pervaded the theatre.

A few weeks ago, I also sat in a darkened theatre as the end credits rolled.  Again, I found myself in a silent theatre, surrounded by overwhelmed onlookers who hesitated to disrupt the movie magic that had transported us into another world.  This time, though, it was for feelings of reverence, feelings of sorrow, feelings of empathy for a little soul, so tormented by his circumstance that we all silently wept as he finally found a glimmer of joy on a swing in Central Park.

The drive home was nearly silent too.  My husband and I weren't ready to talk about the unique experience of seeing Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
And I don't think I was ready to talk about it the following morning when my daughter asked me about it. The tears began and would not stop as I finally tried to verbalize the movie's tender storyline.  My sorrow, surprisingly, was not for the nation's heartache over the dreadful events of 9-11. It was for a broken little boy.

I think I'm ready now to see something a little more boisterous and rowdy, a real laugh out loud kind of thing.  What a thrilling ride to see nearly the entire list of Best Picture nominations this year, all of them selected for their powerful, effective filmmaking.  Whether I cheered at the end.  Or not.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Introducing a Sister Blog

I love my blog.  It has become an important friend filled with my observations of life.  I am thrilled to report that it draws many readers from all over the world, most of whom stumble upon it in a number of ways, from a number of sources.  However they find me, I hope they feel the visit is worthwhile.

In my studies over the past few years, I have reacquainted myself with Henry David Thoreau, a literary name from the past that would show up occasionally on tests and pop quizzes.  Now there are no required essays, no book reports, nothing to motivate me but my own desire to educate myself.  How liberating is that!

What I have discovered is a man with timeless wisdom, humor, and matter-of-factness.  I like him. Not only do I like the things he had to say, the more I learn of who he really was, I feel a kinship to him that is undeniable.

Hence, is born Walden Pond:  Revisited.

If you are curious about this American Legend, I would encourage you to follow along.  There will certainly be a few surprises.  Henry was not afraid to say what he thought, despite its politically-incorrectness. In a word, Henry David Thoreau is refreshing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Long Lost Valentine

It was homemade.  And yet it wasn't made of cut out hearts and paper doilies.  It was a two-fold computer printout card that didn't cost a dime.  That's because we didn't have a dime.

It is one of my most treasured possessions.  The value doesn't lie in its beauty.  The value doesn't lie in its clever design nor the time and effort required to make it.

This Valentine card, with its stains and faded ink, holds value because of the message scribbled by a man who hates to write, who questions his eloquence, who becomes paralyzed by holding a pencil.

I'll let you be the judge.

Dear Ardith,
I hope this card makes up for all of the neglect and disappointments that a mother of three preschoolers has to put up with,
certainly it should come close.
I know that it may seem that our relationship has, metaphorically speaking, dry docked off the sea of romance.
But after further reflection and thoughtful overview, I come to realize that we are not dry docked on a desert isle where love is not felt.
But we simply have arrived where all true loves belong, and that's in a family that deeply cares for each other and whose entire existence depends on each other.
You see, before we only had the romantic side of each other.
But now we have the hope, the trust, and the covenant promise of love forever.
And though at times we seem to have lost a few happy moments of romance,
I know that I have gained far much more.

Love, BJH

P.S. I amour' you, you hunk of woman you!!!!

As I sit here, mopping up the tears, I realize that love just keeps getting better and better.  We may have lost the kick in our step and the figures and the faces of youth, but what has survived the test of time is a deep abiding devotion.  We not only love one another, we take care of one another. We place the other's needs before our own; we finish the other's sentences; we step in immediately to pick up after the other's shortcomings.

I need you.  And I'm pretty sure you need me.

Could there be any truer valentines?