Sunday, February 17, 2008

Norman, Norman, Norman

Ever read the Norman Mclean novella A River Runs Through It, or seen the movie?

I've read the book and seen the movie several times. The movie was on TV tonight, on TCM, so no commercials. And wouldn't you know it, by the time it was over I was sobbing yet again, not a real snotty sob, which was nice. It was more of a delicate dampish sob with some "huh-huh-huh-huhing" into a wad of tp I had clutched in my right hand.

There's a name for the sort of person I am but I'm too tired to think of it at the moment. I've enjoyed, no, required time spent alone in the woods since I was small. I am a highly emotional, sensitive person and I am much, much, much better at the spiritual and lofty than I am at the everyday nitty-gritty parts of life.

Both are required for a comfortable existence, and therein lies my problem.

Which leads me to what struck me from this viewing of ARRTI: The scene near the end of the movie, where Norman's little brother catches a fish. A voiceover talks (and I am paraphrasing here) about how he had caught the fish in such a way as to transcend himself and the bonds of the earth; he'd risen above it; it was art.

But he knew it couldn't last, because life isn't art.

In church this week there was a visiting Nigerian priest and he talked in his homily about the Transfiguration, which is, to sum up, when Jesus takes a couple of the Apostles hiking and at the top of the mountain, hey, there's God, and he says in a booming God voice from behind some clouds (naturally!) that Jesus is his son and the apostles are utterly and completely freaked out and then awed at what is before them. The bulk of the sermon was that if you pray you'll get more of that Transfiguration feeling but what stuck with me was what he said before the prayer elevator speech, that when you are walking in the woods in awe of the beauty that surrounds you, that is being transfigured. And I totally get that.

Which brings me back around to ARRTI. I very much get the God in nature thing. I often ponder the "profound metaphysical questions." But it's just as important to live, feet on the ground, here on earth, giving respect to yourself, your bill collectors, and your kitchen floor. And I know can do those things well, too. I'm getting better at them all the time.

Amen to that. I'm going to bed.



Blogger laura didyk said...

great post... Love that movie. I have this NPR tape (that's right, a cassette...I think most people reading this post know what those are from our bygone days) of writers getting interviewed, and there's one with Norman McLean that makes me cry the same way you cried at the end of the movie. If I can track it down I'll send along for a listen.

6:43 AM, February 18, 2008

Blogger Teri said...

I'm with you all the way, feeling God in nature. I can remember driving through the Rocky Mountains and just being stunned: this is church. Or even just alone, walking, on my local trail on some ordinary day. So valuable to have that perspective, too - outside of my tangle of so-called problems, there are ecosystems, animal families doing what comes naturally. So simple.

There's such a beautiful order and integrity in nature.

I want to go for a walk now. :)

Being a mom brings many moments like that too.

8:21 PM, February 19, 2008


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