Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Variety as a delightful spice

Last night we went into Seattle to take our daughter to dinner and Old Goats, a local film that was playing near her apartment as part of the Seattle International Film Festival.

My husband had sent both of us links to information about the movie, but (typically) neither of us had followed up on the links, so all we knew is that at least parts of the movie had been filmed on Bainbridge Island.

So I lit up with delight when I saw old friends strolling on to the screen -- including one whose memorial service I had conducted almost two years ago.

Some part of me -- though I was with my family, to whom these things were equally obvious -- insisted on pointing things out -- "It's the Oatmeal Club!" It's Pegasus (a local coffee shop)!  Ohmigosh that's Mike from the Bakery! I've been there!  Oh, look, there's Sue!

If I had waited to see the movie at the Lynwood (the island's independent movie theater) I feel certain I would not have been as excited -- or as verbal.  It's the appearance of familiar places and people out of context that was making me giddy.

 -- which feels like some deeply human reptilian brain sort of thing, not necessarily unique to me.  So then I began to wonder -- what is that about?  Why would seeing familiar people in unfamiliar places -- like the neighbors we ran into in the airport in Germany, or the neighbor who was a steward on our flight back from the Netherlands -- be so exciting that we still remember it years later?

I wonder if it's related to the sort of reverse phenomenon in this picture here: a familiar scene -- heron fishing, houses across the lagoon; something I see every day -- but with a completely unfamiliar sky formation, blues and yellows with those incredible rays beaming down, like some sort of giant spaceship hovering just out of view, preparing to land... I get excited here because it's a different look to a very familiar place.

I'm thinking it goes right back to that issue of balance; of seeking and striking that different note as a way of enhancing the harmony of the present, just as the presence of the heron -- serving as a curvy counterpoint to all those straight lines --  makes this image more intriguing.

Yes, I'm human; I like things to stay the same, I resist change unless I'm the instigator.  But I also like surprises -- I always have.  I don't like it when a balloon pops unexpectedly.  But I do love presents -- like life, like parenting, like my marriage, like the movie last night, like this sky -- that slowly unfold to reveal new delights, new thoughtful touches, new gifts and more opportunities to say, once again, "Oh, wow, look!  How cool is that!"

So much to be grateful for...

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