Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Love from a distance

I know; this picture has a very odd sort of paint-by-number quality to it -- I suspect it's because I shot it using my digital zoom all the way out to the max. But wow: it's pretty hard to resist doing that, when you can frame the perfect white of the lighthouse with its red roofs against the blue trees and sky and Mount Baker.  Even the wind was cooperating that day, sending the flag exactly in the right direction. (This is from my weekend excursion to Port Townsend, by the way).

So I'm trying to think: what would be the emotional or spiritual equivalent of a digital zoom?  Something that gives us the illusion of closeness, but is in fact distanced, so what we think we're seeing is really not a fair representation?  It's a bit like watching actors in movies: we get those closeup shots that give us the feeling of their emotions, but really we're looking at makeup and acting, not actual humans or actual feelings...

For some reason this makes me think of the Ally McBeal shows I've been watching.  We were living on Shaw, away from a TV, when this show was aired, so I've been wandering through the episodes with Netflix.  And at the end of Season 2, there are two shows where they're addressing the issue of the ideal lover: that romanticized vision some (many?  all?) women create in their heads of the perfect man -- someone attractive and affectionate who "gets" them, who loves them just as they are, finds their quirks charming, supports and encourages and inspires them and showers them with appropriate thoughtful gifts on appropriate occasions.  (Yes, I know there's more to the definition than that but I'll stop there.)

The question that comes up in court is this: is it fraud for a woman to marry a man who doesn't measure up to that ideal if she still carries that dream in her head -- and doesn't tell him that?  How that translates for the men outside the courtroom is this: do ALL women secretly feel they've "settled" for less?  And for Ally the question becomes, does the ideal man even exist?  Is there such a thing as a soulmate?

I'm thinking the answer lies in this image.  The soulmate concept may act as a sort of beacon in the distance, guiding us toward good relationships.  But in the end, if you were actually to get close to the one who looks like a soulmate from a distance, there would always be flaws -- in this case, dirt on the windows, birdlime on the roof -- that light may not even be operating any more.  And the lighthouse isn't anywhere near as close to the mountain as it looks here.

The fact is -- no-one's perfect, not me, not you, and not our children or the men and women we come to love over the course of our lifetimes.  And I think that ideal and perfect love that keeps beckoning from a distance -- well, my guess is the only way we'll ever really get close to that is by getting in touch with our own souls, our inner divinity, that love that's always there at the root of things -- if only we take time to look...

2 comments:

Joyce Wycoff said...

Ahhh, Netflix. I've given up TV but am now working my way through old series ... which is sort of like your perfect picture or the perfect soulmate ...representations of the "perfect life" where every problem is solved and every drama ends on just the right note.

Where did we get all these ideas of perfection? (and I'm going to put the Ally McBeal series on my list ... I loved it the first time around).

karen gerstenberger said...

It was SUCH a pleasure to sip a cup of coffee and talk (& listen) non-stop with you today. THANK YOU for your help w/my project, thank you for your kindness and hospitality, thank you for your friendship. You are like a walk on the beach - refreshing, fun, relaxing, and good for the soul. xoxoxo