Thursday, November 25, 2010

All right, enough of my idle chatter

A few days ago, I wrote that almost without exception, my experience regarding living within the confines of a major, metropolitan city has been to set up residence as much toward the outer limits of it as possible. This is an example of why. My neighbors right now include this pair of deer. A third was just off camera view to one side. We have here either a mother with last Spring's fawns or, possibly, a yearling taking care of a younger brother and/or sister. No matter which, I have come to the point where I no longer can understand why anyone hunts deer. These photographs were taken through the glass of my window, across gray skies and a light snow/freezing rain mix at different speeds and aperture settings, in case you did not figure that out by looking at them. Just teasing with that last sentence.

Home is far from the huddled masses
Part 3 of 3

The entire sequence of these posts began with and ends with this thought: Where, if you think at all in terms of comfort, security and freedom, do you most feel this way?

For me, it is no contest: In a home beneath the trees and near the water -- far away from the "huddling masses" of Ellis Island or the southwestern American "war zone" borders; far away from the inner city Black or Italian or Mexican or Vietnamese or Hmong or Colombian gangs; far away from the Twin Towers or the Texas Tower or the Ivory Towers; far away from the Street With No Name or Wall Street or a ghetto street.

Some of these thoughts originate because in the woodlands, to reiterate, because of some innate sense, I am a predator. On the streets in a city, I feel like I am the prey. Silly? I do not know, but the look of prey often is reflected in the eyes of city dwellers. Have you not seen this yourself?

People go to the city primarily for work, because they usually can make more money in such a setting. Secondly, they go, I think, to keep themselves readily entertained. But, once there, because they quickly lose their identity due to having become a tiny speck in the midst of a sandstorm of humanity, they search for all manner of devices to maintain their sanity, their hold on reality, their sense of purpose, their role in life. They struggle with any number of unanswered questions about life and living -- questions whose answers are readily found simply though a walk on a frozen lake or through a sunny meadow or under the canopy of a dense forest.

For me, there is more beauty in a running deer than in a speeding car, more art in the shape of a snowflake than in any painting made by man, more spirituality to be found in a forest glade than in the most magnificent cathedral. If you disagree with me, all right; if you do not, why then, would anyone choose city life over country life? I do not understand, and I am curious. Please, explain this to me, if you can.

This piece began simply as a few random comments to accompany the photograph of the apartment building where I lived last Winter in Warsaw. Somewhere along the way, it became a search for an answer to a question I frequently ask: Why would anyone choose to live in a crowded city?

To draw this to a conclusion, I wish to live for the length of a season in a few more major, metropolitan areas simply for the experience, for learning, for finding out first-hand whether my thoughts and beliefs change in regard to city life and city dwellers. But, as I wrote when I closed Part 1, I do not think I ever will take up permanent residence in one -- at least until I am too old to run in the woodlands and to swim across the rivers.

Crime + book + movie = money

Movie music by Jerry Goldsmith -- for a final time -- with this selection among his seventeen compositions nominated for an Academy Award.

This musical score is from the motion picture, "Papillon," which is not a film about either butterflies or dogs. Sorry, if that disappoints you. Rather, it is a motion picture based on a book written by Henri Charriere, a Frenchman and a petty thief who managed to get himself convicted for the murder of a pimp.

Charriere's story and the subsequent movie describe his years of confinement in prisons in French Guiana, including a few years in the penitentiary on the infamous Devil's Island. He made several attempts to escape before finally succeeding. In all, he spent about twelve years in prison.

As has been the pattern of this series, a clip from the film itself is included to offer a taste of the performance.

Perhaps the moral of Charriere's life is that crime does pay -- if you write a book about it and if someone in Hollywood reads it and likes it.


TheChicGeek said...

Hello Fram :)
I love, love, love the picture with the deer. I see them often here in Los Angeles too, but in the snow they look extra special.
We have mountains surrounding our city so when I travel just a short distance I often encounter deer on hiking trails or grazing in fields of grass on the hills. Occasionally, an unlucky baby runs down onto Sunset Boulevard with unhappy results.
Yes, parts of big cities are war zones, most definitely. I suppose we that live in cities are, in part, warriors. We learn to find our spirituality and peace within. Think of those that live in real war zones with bombs dropping. There are those survivors that manage to stay positive and find beauty in the smallest of things, they find a peaceful place within, they survive. There are those that freak out, see only the ugly, feel defeated and just die. Those that see the glass half full and those that see the glass half empty. Peace can be found within a city. One might find oneself lonely in the wilderness after a time. I think you are right that people settle in cities mostly for work, young people to find a mate, and then they end up moving out of the city to a prettier and more satisfying lifestyle. Such is life....

TheChicGeek said...

I, too, have always found spirituality in nature. It is where I feel the most peace. I can hear my best voice in the quiet sounds of nature. Religion is in the church or beautiful cathedrals. I think when in nature, sitting by the river or the ocean, listening to the music of all natural things, we experience how small we are in this universe and how vastly beautiful our earth is.

TheChicGeek said...

I was reading about a cross country skiing park in Minnesota with trails lit in the night. I thought that sounded like fun. Have you ever tried that? I used to do cross country skiing a long time ago and I enjoy it because it's more like hiking and much less crowded than the downhill slopes. I bet you might like that. Maybe you will meet a lovely lady on the trail :)

Your picture changed on your post but today is the first time it has appeared on my screen...kinda weird, like a delayed reaction.

The musical score is beautiful for Papillon. Thanks for sharing it. I have seen the movie too and enjoyed it.

Your picture with the deer would make a pretty Christmas card :)

Okay, so off I go. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Fram :)
Hugs and Kisses,

Fram Actual said...

Kelly writes: "One might find oneself lonely in the wilderness after a time."

Fram responds: Two characters come to mind.

Since my books are in storage, I cannot provide the precise words, but in James Michener's novel, "Centennial," Alexander McKeag, alone in the wilderness running a trap line, almost goes mad after being snowbound for days. He is desperate for human contact, to hear the voice of another person, and decides then and there, no more to ever be alone.

In the film, "Jeremiah Johnson," the old mountain man, Chris Lapp, asks the young mountain man, Johnson, if he does not miss people and want to go down to the flatlands and to a city. To which, Johnson replies, "I've been to a city."

I would place myself somewhere between these two gentlemen.

As for skiing, not me, ma'am. I did in high school and college, downhill, but evidently you never heard the story about the end of my skiing career.

The story is short: I was running a hill in woodlands without scouting it. I dodged a tree (several, actually) and hit a boulder and broke a ski. I never bought another pair.

As for delayed reactions (the photograph, in this case), that is the subtitle of my life, in every category you could possibly name.

As for Thanksgiving -- enjoy your day, Kelly. Take care.

Kaya said...

Fram, the photograph with young deers is wonderful. I liked it so much!!!!! And I think of you as a great photographer.

The young deers?.... I live in the place surrounded by mountains and every year in winter an young deer or perhaps two of them come down and eat my English ivy. They can't reach far up and after their visit a fence looks ugly. And I always smile and think, Did you have a good meal? And only once I saw a moose, an young moose coming to our place. There is also a family of skunks and rattle snakes also. And many different birds.

The place where I live quite secluded and I like it but I still dream about New York. There is diversity there and different atmosphere. Yes, I can be lost on a streets of this big city and be completely invisible and lonely but I will be one of all those immigrants who came to USA to make a new life. I will be whole with my accent and my different mentality. I will be part of a "melted pot". And here I don't feel it. Of course, there is madness of a big city but I used to it and I am ok with it.

We are having a lot of snow and I hope it will stay this way and will not melt soon. I am going cross country skiing. Love it. I never learned how to do down hill skiing. Too scared.

I enjoyed reading this post, Fram. Your blog is like a good book. You always would like to know what next chapter will be about.

I hope you found a young unattached lady and will have a very good dinner tonight.

I am sending your way my best wishes and you are in my thoughts, Fram.

Fram Actual said...

I think you gave me a very fine answer to my question, Kaya, and you also opened up one avenue of thought I had not considered or expected.

You said, ".... I will be one of all those immigrants who came to USA to make a new life. I will be whole with my accent and my different mentality."

This concept reveals to me why I felt more comfortable in Warsaw than I recall ever feeling in any major, metropolitan city in America. I think it might have been because I was different from those around me, and everything I was experiencing, in a sense, was different than my usual way of seeing life.

Yes, I could drink Coke, eat Pizza Hut pizza and go to movies spoken in English, but everyone around me was speaking a different language and thinking in terms of their education and experience, which was generally very different from my own.

In another country, I am just like you are here in America.

It sounds like you live in a nice, comfortable area which provides you with the opportunity to enjoy a bit of Nature. Good, for you.

And, as always, thank you for the kind words and good wishes. They give me a pleasant feeling.

And, no, I did not find a young, unattached lady for dinner. I decided my life is complicated enough at the present time, and I do not want any distractions, even momentary ones. So, right now, I am off for dinner by myself.

Silver said...

I agree... i live in the country but got to work in the city.. i have no idea why anyone would want to live in the city!! Even though the drive may be a little longer than if i were to live closer to work, i wouldn't trade it even if i could!


Fram Actual said...

Congratulations, on your good judgment, Silver.

My longest commute was fifty-five miles each way, but, fortunately, that was only once or twice a week to a branch office. More generally, I have been in the twenty-five to thirty-mile club each way.

I have had some absolutely horrendous drives in blizzards, but never once regretted my choice of country living. Your time away from work is much, much more pleasant -- especially for those who enjoy and thrive on Nature.

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