It Had Me At Sad Eyes

Lugnasa                                                                   Superior Wolf Moon

20160813_154908Jon and I picked up the kids yesterday at 4 p.m., then went over to Colorado Mills for a movie, Pete’s Dragon. In some ways it’s a thin story with little complexity in the plot line, but it has the virtue of a dragon with fur, one that acts like an Irish Wolfhound. With the dog/dragon hook it had me at sad eyes and dragon protects vulnerable boy. It tugs the heart.

I did wonder, based on a sample size of 2 recent movies, about the role of nature in children’s movies. In both BFG (big friendly giant) and Pete’s Dragon the world outside cities and towns has a romantic purity, a place where dreams are collected, BFG, and a place where dragons and four-year olds can survive and play together for years unnoticed. In both cases the children return to the human dominated world as the movie ends, but retain an affection for the hidden home of the giants, BFG, and the forest in the north where dragons can be.

Black Mountain in the cloudsThese tales of the wild turned protector may reflect our deepest wishes about the natural world outside the built environment. We want the mountains and the forests to be safe places, congenial to humanity, places we can retreat to when we have the need. As John Muir said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

Both Gabe and Ruth thought Elliot, the dragon, acted like our Rigel. They were right.

The divorce drags on, drawing a deep harrow across the former lives of all of us it touches. It may wrap up in about six weeks, at least by dissolving the marriage and reaching agreements on key issues like custody, decision making for the kids and sale of the Pontiac Street house. But even that moment, the final divorce hearing, only marks the beginning of a long, long process.

Gabe is 8 and Ruth is 10. They will live their childhood shuttling between homes. Jon and Jen will have to establish new homes, engage life as single parents, yet have to negotiate the mutual terrain of the kids lives. None of this will be easy given the acrimony that has marked the ending of this marriage.

Having raised a boy in this very way, I can testify to its problematic though my relationship with Raeone was more civil all along. Life is hard, then you get divorced.


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