Monday, 8 July 2013

Is it a dream…?

"We live in a world made up more of story than stuff. We are creatures of memory more than reminders, of love more than likes." ~Jonathan Safran Foer 

In my post before last, I mentioned two seminal works that had shaped my connection with nature. One was E. B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan, but the first was Watership Down by Richard Adams. This week, I was reminded by a friend’s blog and through the class I teach about the importance of stories and how they connect us in our relationships. And so, I wanted to share my connection to Watership Down. This particular narrative by Richard Adams is quite personal and touching for me as it is associated with the bond I had with my grandmother. While The Trumpet of the Swan was one of the first books that I read that really impacted my ecological beliefs; Watership Down was the first film that I remember having a similarly profound influence on the values I would carry with me into adulthood. I read Watership Down years later, but the film rendition is quite heart-wrenching for me. I remember going to see it in the theatre as a child; one of those lovely evenings when an outing to the movies was a rare and treasured experience. 

There a few scenes in the film that deeply moved me and that remain in my psyche to this day. The first scenes are in reference to Fiver’s dream and Captain Holly’s telling of the destruction of their warren. This first scene is the one that led me to critically examine our actions as human beings and how they affect the well-being of both the environment that surrounds us, and all of the beings within… The scene that has an interpersonal connection for me is the first introduction of the rabbit of death when Fiver is guided to Hazel after he has been shot by the farmer. The lyrics from the song in the background of the scene sung by Art Garfunkel are equally powerful. Before my grandmother passed, I put together a tribute book to her from her children and grandchildren. The lyrics from Bright Eyes were part of a quote that I included in this book of family narratives honouring my grandmother for her role in our lives. We each wrote our cherished moments and accompanied our piece in the book with a picture of our youthful selves. It’s been quite a while since she has passed and that clip and the song on its own still move me to tears… 

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