a thousand unbreakable lines

munch-starry-night
“Starry Night” by Edvard Munch

I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable lines between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves — we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together. We are each other’s destiny.
~ Mary Oliver
(Upstream: Selected Essays)

subtle energy

JohnConstable.trunk.elm
“Study of the Trunk of an Elm Tree” by John Constable

Trees are the largest and most spiritually advanced plants on Earth. They are constantly in meditation, and subtle energy is their natural language. As your understanding of this language grows, you can begin to develop a relationship with them. They can help you open your energy channels and cultivate calm, presence, and vitality. You can reciprocate by helping them with their own blockages and devitalized areas. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that needs cultivation.
~ Mantak Chia
(Chi Nei Tsang: Chi Massage for the Vital Organs)

network of mutuality

"Portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." by Betsy G. Reyneau,
“Portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Betsy G. Reyneau, National Archives

In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
(Strength to Love)

Jane Eyre

4.9.11 ~ Madison, Connecticut
4.9.11 ~ Madison, Connecticut

Tim was on call last night so I didn’t think we’d be going anywhere today, but he wasn’t called too often and he got enough sleep, so we took a little trip to Madison, which is a 45-minute drive from here. I badly wanted to see Jane Eyre and the only place it is showing around here is the Madison Art Cinema.

4.9.11 ~ Madison, Connecticut
4.9.11 ~ Madison, Connecticut

We stopped at When Pigs Fly for brunch and then braved I-95 southbound to reach our destination. We usually wait for movies to become available on Netflix, but we were told the cinematography was amazing in this one, so off we went and I was not disappointed.

After the movie we strolled around the center of town and photographed some of the sculptures. The weather was lovely so we got some ice cream, sat in the car, and watched a squirrel busily foraging for food as we enjoyed our treat. We discussed the various versions of the film we have seen.

Fortunately for me I had read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and all her other books, long before seeing any of the film versions. The story is so long it is difficult to tell in the space of a two-hour movie. For this 2011 version, directed by Cary Fukunaga, I felt the most important parts of the story were included and I actually liked the way it was told with flashbacks.

My favorite production is the 1983 BBC television mini-series of Jane Eyre. I bought it on two video tapes and wore them out just in time to replace them with the new DVD. It follows most of the book and was great to watch in the winter when I had four hours to curl up with a cup of tea and a blanket…

When I went to see the 1996 version, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, I remember being disappointed because it didn’t cover all that I thought it should. But that was about fifteen years ago so perhaps I should give it a fresh try.

The 1944 version with Orson Welles was terrible, in my humble opinion. I found Welles’ portrayal of Rochester about as frightening as it gets. It was like a melodramatic horror movie and not a deep and moving love story. But then I’m highly sensitive and I’m sure there are others who didn’t feel as repulsed as I did.

But I think all the versions I’ve seen have had the heartfelt words that Jane Eyre uttered to Edward Rochester, which sum up what I feel is the main message of the story:

Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart! … I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh; it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal – as we are! … I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.
~ Charlotte Brontë
(Jane Eyre)

To be released in October –  a graphic novel, Jane, by April Lindner.

my mother

Write something, anything…

Tonight there will be a full moon. Today is the day my mother died, nineteen long years ago. She was only 59. I was only 34. So young, the both of us. Fifty-nine seemed like such a long way off then, and here I am now, at fifty-three, wondering at the last nineteen years, each day so long in the living and yet the years speeding by. My son is 34. I look at him and try to imagine him motherless, as I became at his age.

It’s amazing that I still miss her so and often wonder what life would now be like if she was here… Somehow I want to do something in her memory, but I’m not sure how…

Elisabeth J. White

Mom was a nature lover and avid bird watcher. One time she found a baby owl that lived in our bathroom for a while until it was ready for release. Our childhood was spent camping, canoeing, and hiking. She was a physical therapist and loved to read. If she wasn’t outside, she had her nose in a newspaper or book.

Her high school classmates said of her: “With charm of soul possessed by her, she rules herself.” So true. Until I left home, I was unaware of the “war between the sexes.” My parents had a true egalitarian relationship. Mom disliked cooking and it was unremarkable to me that Dad did the cooking and Mom mowed the lawn. They modeled interdependence and mutuality for me and my sister.

She loved her grandchildren, my children, and took each of them separately for a special week-long visit at Grandma’s before she was too ill to enjoy them. After her special visit, my then ten-year-old daughter declared her intention to move in with her grandparents. Her grandma gently explained to her that it wouldn’t be as much fun if she was living there full-time.

Mom didn’t have any sons, so she adored her grandsons, who were thirteen and fifteen when she died. My older son was her little shadow and loved following her around, helping to feed her chickens, weed the garden, pick vegetables for dinner, or whatever else they found to occupy themselves out there. There was a special bond between them and he took her death the hardest.

It’s kind of funny, Mom had no interest in art or interior decor. My sister and I, who have more of an eye for balance and color, were continually exasperated at how she arranged the furniture and how nothing seemed to go together. One day while Mom was at work, my sister took it upon herself to make new curtains for the kitchen, paint it and put down some pretty shelf paper. Mom didn’t seem to notice and merely shrugged when my sister pointed it out to her and asked her if she minded. We later learned that her mother, who was an artist, had tried many times to give her daughter a hand with the decorating, but her efforts were for naught.

Some things skip a generation, and if my sister and I are like our grandmother, my daughter is very much like my mother. Especially in the wanderlust department. Mom loved the adventure of travel, and as Dad puts it, she dragged him to Greece to live for a couple of years when an opportunity to do that presented itself. And they took trips out west and through Canada to explore another of her passions, the culture of Native Americans. They also took a trip to the Ukraine, the land of my father’s ancestors.

First Congregtional Church Cemetery, Harwich, Massachusetts

Yes, I still miss her and her Seminole skirt. Had she lived I’m sure we would have found her rumored New England Native American ancestor by now. Yesterday I immersed myself in genealogical research, which was an occupation we both enjoyed. My goodness, what would she think of all the online research now available? When she died she was learning to use the online genealogical bulletin boards that seem so primitive now.

Well, I could go on, but this is long enough. Somehow I think my mother knows that she may be gone, but is by no means forgotten. And that I’ve learned that all we have is now, and that when all is said and done, that is enough.