May. 26th, 2012

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Shapes In The Clouds:

Loss of Enchantment, Return To Wonder

by Jesse Wolf Hardin

“I cannot believe it, I was seeing shapes in the clouds just now!,” my dear friend Daniel breathlessly exclaimed.  He had a rare tear in his eye, admitting to me “It has been so very long, since I have seen shapes in the clouds…”


To a young child, the world and everything in it almost invariably appears as alive, meaningful and story filled, a matrix of shifting patterns that are constantly revealing new compositions and juxtapositions, songs and designs, whisperings in tree boughs and soft white dragons floating across bright blue skies.  It is only through the programming of disenchanting, conformist public schools and appearance and money focused television that a youngster slowly ripped away from this essential view of reality as wonderfully mysterious, magical and miraculous, conscious and communicative.  A toddler can often be seen staring intently at a flower-licking butterfly, awestruck at a flash of lightning, or tripping-out on something as commonplace as the intersecting circles created by raindrops falling on a puddle in the yard, or fascinated by the intricate weave of their clothes as seen really, really close up.  What a terrible tragedy, when a child gets to a stage of acting like a common acculturated adult, no longer trusting that there is real magic outside of a movie’s special effects, unable to believe in their own capacities to be heroes and heras, wizards or healers participating in a most-purposeful destiny.  How sad to see someone who is running to get out of the rain, oblivious to the puddle’s patterns, unmindful of the shapes and faces formed by the dense clouds overhead.   How do we know when a society, a culture, is impoverished, un-moored, lost to its highest purpose?  When under any conditions, we can go through the years of our life without being captivated by the creations that wind and cloud do make.

What is it, that can stand in the way of our view, of the enchanted view of life unfolding?  What preoccupations and distractions, what prejudices and fears, what habits?  A hurried lifestyle, maybe, no time to look anywhere but directly ahead.  Being self conscious about our engagement and amazement, worried about being seen gazing for long minutes at the sunlit veins in a fallen leaf.  Feeling unworthy of leisure and undeserving of beauty.  Being a “hardened man” or a “career woman”.  Abuse that may have shut us down in this and other ways. Residing mainly in our heads, and thus simply missing, missing, and missing things again.  Or perhaps a soul stifling job or disingenuous or unhealthy marriage, that drapes a heavy wet blanket over every light and spark.

Sometimes it is several of the above, and so it was for the 30-plus year old Daniel, ally of and number-one aide to the Anima Sanctuary.  First, an emotional shutting down as a child, that he is only now overcoming.  Then, the distractions of partying as a teen, the necessity of a job, the responsibilities of becoming a father, and the oppressiveness of a relationship with the mother of that child that for whatever reasons seemed to suck the very air and spirit out of him, draining his creative batteries, sending him ever further into the refuge of silence and withdrawal and his own solitary thoughts.  Only now, hurting from negotiations over child custody but relieved of his relationship, is he finding the world wholly fascinating again.  It is this possibility of lifelong excitement and awe, this insistent joy, that he hopes to ensure in his daughter.

“Will you look at that,” he says, pointing at the clouds over our canyon, a huge smile back on his face… and I gladly turn to see.


(Forward and RePost Freely)

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So lately we've been watching another BBC program on Netflix.  It's called Rosemary and Thyme and is about two women, Rosemary and Ms. Thyme, who solve murder mysteries.  Rosemary is a botanist and Thyme is a retired constable.  After Thyme separates from her philandering husband she partners with Rosemary who is soon sacked from a university position to do contract gardening and consulting work.  While designing and working on the gardens of usually wealthy clients there is inevitably a grisly murder committed which the two of them proceed to summarily solve.

Sam and I saw the description of this show a while back and thought it might be interesting to watch, so we filed it away in our memories.  Not too long ago CD asked to see it because she had watched some episodes while house-sitting for a friend and wanted to see more.  It was clear enough that we were all interested in checking it out, so we did.  I have to admit I wasn't that open to it at first because that day I was getting a bit sleepy and a murder mystery seemed a little dense and hard to stay awake too (I probably should have gone to sleep).  Despite a sort of rocky personal start though I've gotten really attached and involved with the subsequent episodes we've watched.  I think we're about three episodes in out of the six available.

I get involved trying to figure out who's done it.  It's hard for other shows to get me mentally involved beyond acknowledging what's on the screen; but this show does a great job of giving my brain some things to mull over instead of just glazing over.  The characters make it really easy to get involved as well.  Rosemary is straight-forward interesting.  She has a lot of information to put out there as well as being the one who usually puts the logical spin on things.  There's also this wonderful spin on her character though; she is knowledgeable and confident, but when confronted with "accidentally" overhearing something she is deliciously awkward.  Her reactions near slapstick quality.  Thyme on the other hand is more intuitive.  She doesn't mind gossiping and taking in anything and everything people say as possible truth.  She has a son who works for Scotland Yard and occasionally asks him to "check out" possible suspects as well.  Where Rosemary is matter-of-fact, Thyme is a bit more scattered but usually a little closer to the truth.  The two characters play off of each other very well.

I've grown a bit attached to the classic Murder, She Wrote television show and enjoy it a lot.  It's one of the few murder mystery shows I actually enjoy.  Having said that, I can say honestly that Rosemary and Thyme has a similar charm and wit.  It's a shame Netflix only has six episodes to offer.


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