The joy of a spirit is the measure of its power.
~ Ninon de Lenclos (1620 – 1705)
So yesterday I felt all kinds of depressed after watching the movie Sideways. Possible even a bit coliary. If neither of those words float your boat, my thesaurus tells me I might also have been feeling “blue, dejected, desolate, dispirited, down, downcast, downhearted, dull, dysphoric, gloomy, heavy-hearted, low, melancholic, sad, spiritless, tristful, unhappy, and wistful.”
Even though the story has a relatively happy ending, the first 100 minutes are enough to drive us moderately creative wannabe intellectuals to the nearest bottle of just about anything that will drown our sorrows. I am drawn to these types of movies, about people who hit bottom somewhere in midlife and yet eventually, almost entirely against their own misguided wishes, learn to find a grain of happiness in the smallest and most unrecognizable of circumstances. But before they do, there is the inevitable, universal impulse to throw a pity party and invite others to wallow along with them.
O, for God’s sake! Go ahead, indulge your dark side more, why don’t you? Seriously, Brian. Have you no inner radar when enough is enough? Words matter and unlike raw sewage (what I learn on blogs, I tell ya’) they don’t always float out to sea for treatment They can be more, well, more like those feminine hygiene products that clog the equipment.
Read [Bukowski] when you are back working and not a moment before.
That, my friend, is both cold water to the face and a soothing balm for the soul, conveniently wrapped in pixels.
So today I share the flip side, proof that the unrecognizable is there, awaiting the willing grasp: As a family, we recently sat down and watched Field of Dreams. Twenty years on, this movie still touches in me something that refuses to die.
We went, like the great throng winding its way through the corn at the end of the movie, to Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie was filmed, back in the late 1990s. For my part, perhaps I felt a drawing, an itch in my spirit that needed scratching. We played in the corn . . .
. . . sat on the bleachers . . .
. . . walked on the manicured outfield . . .
. . . and basked in an idyllic world so far removed from the mundane busyness of everyday life.
For a moment in time, all distractions ceased. None of them mattered. I lingered, smelling the field, soaking it all in, hoping that a portion of it all would find a fertile spot in my soul and bloom like some great perennial, upon which I could gaze for years to come, among which I could skip and play when lowering clouds broke on the horizon.
And you know what? It worked. It’s still there. I felt it, like a gentle touch from a welcomed friend, this morning . . .
. . . as me and my two youngest had a catch before they hopped on the bus. Having a catch before school has become a tradition. Amid the very real rocks and weeds, completions and fumbles and two-hand-touches, resides a metaphor, a reminder to reach out and grab that which seems to tarry just out of reach.
The field has changed, but the dream remains. I will get through this. And I choose to do it without Bukowski. He can wait until his words can be read for what they are, and not for what they may impart . . .