Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hi sweetheart, many kisses hello. Missed you very much today - oh, as ever. Back from a jaunt to Great Barrington, where I caught a screening of a very intense film, We Need to Talk About Kevin. Which has been on my radar for a while now, since it played in the local annual fall film festival here, not that I saw it at that time. I felt a little restless during the film. It's such a beautiful, mild sunshiny day, and I was feeling a little emotional -- well no, I wasn't so much, but somehow the film, with the ever-expressive Tilda Swinton, was pulling me there, especially in a darkened theater, by myself. If you'd been there, I might have said, "let's go." Or no, probably I wouldn't have, we would have stuck it out, but then we would have enjoyed the drive back together, moonroof open, sun warming the car, as we'd fly back to Hudson on Route 23.

Actually, weirdly, the most notable thing about the movie for me, was the fact that early on in it, there's a scene where, I think the Tilda Swinton character is driving down some suburban street -- and there are street signs -- and I recognized the very name of the street that I grew up on -- Culloden Road. Which is a fairly long road. I grew up on the very northernmost tip of it - literally, the corner house -- but it extended southward for several miles, leading towards downtown Stamford, paralleling the New Haven-line railroad tracks along its entire length. Other than the road sign, I didn't recognize any of the houses. I imagined, as I sat in the theatre, that it was filmed on some reach of Culloden Road that I wasn't familiar with. And I'd never bike that way, ever -- that end of town never held any appeal for me, I was always biking northward, to North Stamford, New Canaan, or even northeastward - to Darien. And then there was another scene in the movie, along the same road, where what to me was clearly a MetroNorth train passes by, behind the modest blue-collar houses -- and I was like, wow, that's Culloden Road all right. I was so itching to get out of there, kept checking my watch, but I stayed for the credits, and was gratified -- in this film produced by the BBC (not even U.S.) that there was a special 'thanks' to the State of Connecticut.

And just now I googled, where was it filmed -- sure enough, Stamford, Connecticut.

Okay, it's not exactly radio song titles appositely speaking to me (Maplewood Avenue, anyone? - no joke!, a couple of years back - that one shook me) - but seriously -- what are the statistical odds that a film I happen to sit down to view was filmed on the very road I grew up on, albeit an unfamiliar part of it, and many years later?

Oh well, there's no use belaboring it, of course. It was just weird, such an obscure - seemingly - absolutely bland & indifferent location. How did the scouts ever find such a tired, scruffy, 'wrong side of the tracks' kind of place? Well, they were looking, of course...

Oh sweetheart, how are you. Just now, after all that talk of the darkened theatre & images flickering on the screen, stirring strange memories of the place I grew up -- up here in the aerie it's 5:52, but it seems like 4:52, and the light is full & clarid & bright accordingly.

Church was good this morning, a beautiful baptismal ceremony, for the most adorable sweet very beautiful, peaceful, calm, bright-eyed baby girl ever, dressed in her tiny little white dress & white bonnet.

And there was a reading (is that the word? the congregation intoned the words as well) -- that completely put me in mind of Emily Dickinson. It was from Psalm 19, of the Book of Common Prayer.
In the deep has he set a
pavilion for the sun; it comes
forth like a bridegroom out of
his chamber; it rejoices like a
champion to run its course.

It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
and runs about to the end of
it again; nothing is hidden
from its burning heat
Isn't that amazing? Surely Emily Dickinson must have been very familiar with --- well perhaps this very Psalm. Perhaps she wasn't formally religious, but I'm sure the liturgy, and all the cadences, spoken or sung, were inextricably familiar to her.

And I have to say, without meaning to intellectualize it at all, I am enjoying (if that's the word) my participating in church services, and listening to the Readings, and listening to the (very intelligent, eloquent, loving, kind, insightful) sermon of the presiding Reverend. What I meant to say is - that Gospel readings, or readings from the Old Testament, aren't second nature to me, I haven't had a life, over time devoted to absorbing them, considering them -- not since girlhood anyway, when I absorbed things maybe more sensorily, the sounds of the expertly ornate church organist, warbling choir from high up the back rafters, stained glass windows as refracted through my tiny emerald-chip ring, faces of dead animals - weasels, ferrets, foxes, on the stoles of women communicants approaching the altar...

But through all that, when I was a girl -- I was too young to understand, and to consider -- and now it's very interesting to me -- truly 'news' -- to hear the Word and its interpretation through a thoughtful, heartfelt Sermon --- it is an education of sorts, for me - for which I'm glad, and even if I'm not 'quite there' - I am there - and I participate in my own way --

and it helps bring me closer to an understanding of Emily Dickinson, too
that I wasn't as familiar with the Bible as -- if not as I should be -- then certainly, that as she was

How eloquent the sight of a pristinely white, simple cotton dress
You should have seen that beautiful little baby girl, (who I've seen before, on previous Sundays, bundled in some unmemorable snugglies)
and today was her day, all dressed in white, and the church was full, almost crowded for the occasion
so much so that we forewent the intimate pressing of hands and wishing one another peace, when there's a far smaller attendance

anyway, the eloquence of a tiny perfect little white dress on an infant
and the service was in her honor, even if she wasn't entirely conscious of it
but those imprints -- not only in the spiritual way consecrated by the R --
but the resonances, and sonorances, and people applauding her, the little baby, the gift
she will remember that, and perhaps also, some of the rousing strains of organ music
as she grows older
and older
and into herself
and finds her own

many kisses you, pressing your hands --- peace

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