Tuesday, May 29, 2007

gods and pirates

It snowed most of the day today (!) which kept me still in the cabinhere in Winter Park, Coloradowith time for my pen to catch up to some of my thoughts. Always high on the list, pirates.

The thing I liked most about Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is that the characters are true. Not true to their word or true to themselves, but true to who they are.

They are so true to who they are that they can be counted on by others, whether they be faithful sons, ambitious queens, heartsick lovers, tempestuous goddesses, tea-sipping/sea-tipping politicians, or scalawags.

They are true to who they are. They have this quality of being to them, which reminds me of God, who reveals himself primarily as “I am”.

George McDonald wrote, “There is endless room for rebellion against ourselves.” And how often do I see those little rebellions. You can usually tell when people aren’t being themselves. They explain themselves a lot. Or they pull all kinds of stunts. Or they sweat profusely. All the time. It’s very tiring not to be yourself. And rebellions are always costly.

The best line in the movie about this was when Davy Jones expressed his anger and hurt to his lover, who wasn’t there for him after waiting 10 years at her bidding. She offered no explanation. She said that’s who she is, and asks, “Would you love me if I were anything but what I am?” But who is prepared for a lover who will be who she will be, even if she is, as theologian Walter Bruggeman describes God, “wild, unfettered, dangerous, and free”?

One thing hard to swallow in PC3 is the scale—both of the pace and the action—from the flawless swordplay by the heroes and heroine to Jack’s acrobatics to the fantastic twists and turns in the plot. It’s all quite incredible. But when you have characters that are so bold, strong, unbalanced, and true, each playing their own hand, what do you expect?

I wonder.

I wonder what would happen in this story outside the movies if a handful of unbalanced and true people, whose lives intertwine, lived truly. It might be amazing and incredible, even miraculous.

And on a slightly sidish note, I was reading this morning from The Dangerous Book for Boys about the “golden age of piracy”. Iggulden says the most astonishing thing is that many pirates were given pardons in exchange for military aid or a cut of the loot. My have governments changed today! Yeh right. One famous pirate was even knighted, and made governor of Jamaica. But even if there were no scheming, thousand-faced, gutless politicians, it is still difficult to judge something like piracy according to the mores of one’s own comfy couch. If the world didn't need pirates, they probably wouldn't exist.

Monday, May 28, 2007

life in the woods

Thoreau went to the woods because he wanted to live deliberately. I don't come to the woods to live my life, but to find some, to breathe deeply that pungent and elusive quality wisping among the stalks and stems, careless but not ambivalent to me as it meanders the ancient paths hoping for some soul to extinguish itself upon. I come to the woods to breathe deeply of life when I find it. At once I find life's breath and lose my own in moments whelming with wonder, beauty, and pleasure. I walk into a meadow, verdant, cool, and moist with spring, a green river of life banked by aspens and sage, rolling down the foothills. The gray clouds play with the sun, spreading blankets of warm light and cool shade, teasing me with a choice I anyways cannot make. Gentle raindrops tap my sunbaked cheeks and bare shoulders, spending all at once on me the refreshment they carried miles and miles across and above the earth. The thick pines and firs at the edge of the meadow stretch for the sky, and beyond a lonely mountain sits like a ruddy green giant covered by a tartan quilt of evergreens bleeding red, bearing two distinguished patches of white, the last vestiges of winter as it ages and yields to spring. The mountain calls to me, even dares me to come and try my brawn against its mass, and I accede. I close my eyes to breathe it all in and my soul utters, unprompted, “almost heaven”. At once an old red fox crosses the meadow in front of me, calmly trotting from side to side, cover to cover. Our accepting eyes meet and my breath is lost. It is in this moment that I am most aware of the nature of life. I did not arrange this moment, and could not. This moment was made for me, and would happen without me. I come to the woods to breathe deeply of life when I find it, or rather to breathe deeply of life when it finds me. It is only given freely, and it must be freely received.

And now the sun’s light drifts beyond the meadow’s reach. That moment is gone. The tallest evergreens silhouette themselves out of the black mountain curves into the deepest of blues. And the moon rises.

Here is no home to right or wrong or any of their children.

There is just life to find and to be found by.

Monday, May 07, 2007

important insignificance

This goes with some other thoughts I've been mulling that are not quite ready to serve yet.
Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
- Mahatma Gandhi
More later.