Gone with the Wind and an Australian Boy

I promised myself that I wouldn’t write until I finished my school work. Making promises to myself is generally a pretty pointless idea. I sometimes literally cannot wait to write. This is one of those sometimes.

I’m sitting in an outside room. Why, Maggie, it’s 36 measly degrees outside, aren’t you completely frozen? Yes. I am. Surely you’re wearing a coat and hat and gloves, that must help. Dear parents (and any other sane human being), please don’t be alarmed when you read this, but I’m not wearing a coat, or a hat, or gloves. I am wearing flannel pajamas and slippers and my writing sweater. You’re an idiot. I know. I am, however, an idiot wrapped up in a down comforter – I took it from the closet with a slightly mischievous smile on my face because I knew as I wrapped it haphazardly around myself that were my Grammy, to whom it belongs, to see that I was a) sitting in the outside room without a coat and b) using her nice down comforter as a substitute, she would make sure I didn’t have hypothermia and then have my hide. But, since she’s not here to be worried about me getting hypothermia and since I won’t get hypothermia and since when she gets home, the comforter will be safely in the its place in the closet, no worse for the short outing, I can sit, wrapped in the blanket, not getting hypothermia, in the outside room – just because. And it really is just because. It’s just so that I can say I spent the morning deliciously cold and warm all at once in an outside room listening to, and occasionally watching, birds. I know. I know I could’ve watched birds from inside the warm house, but this somehow feels more cozy and adventurous. Warm is exponentially warmer when your face and hands are fully aware of cold. And it feels like a lake-side cottage or cabin-in-the-woods a million miles away in this outside room – enveloped by cold and submerged in the monotone world of birds and wooden fences and empty trees. And I can’t hear the bird songs from inside. A woodpecker is drumming  a hollow rhythm for my fingers to follow as I type. Were I inside, that rhythm would fall to the ground unheard. So, I’m outside, captivated by simplicity and by the stunning red of a cardinal against that lovely winter dreary, wishing desperately to be able to fly or jump from the highest branch of a tree and be unafraid of the fall.

I’m reading Gone with the Wind and I very much like it. I knew I’d like it because I can’t stand the movie. Illogical, yes. I watched it for the first time last night and the entire time my mind was consumed with my dislike of Scarlett, a wondering at why this is a classic, and the deep longing to re-make it with good actors and scripting so that the beautiful story that’s buried somewhere between the bustles and the overdramatic acting and overemphasized music can be seen in its true glory. I couldn’t stand the movie because I could see that it wasn’t even remotely doing the story justice – I hadn’t picked up the book until after it was over, but I knew, I knew there was a deep beauty and pain that was lost amid the movie style of the late 1930’s. I found myself as I watched wanting to cry, not for the vile that is war or the misfortune that it Scarlett, but for the fact that I could not feel either of these things the way I knew I should. I could almost feel Margaret Mitchell’s sorrow at her complex Scarlett turned into the simple, breathy, nearly bipolar thing of the movie. I longed for that deeper thing from which this movie had come – I longed for the original beauty, the original intent.

I found it. I found it in the book. And it was all I had longed and more.

We know. We know when there is more – when there is a deeper beauty, a deeper pain, a more complex story, a richer color, a more resonate note, it’s written on our souls. Even when it’s not a blatant “ah-ha!” moment, or even a cock-your-head-to-the-side-and-furrow-your-brow-at-what-you-just-felt-or-missed moment – we know. Something in us stops in its tracks and remembers.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. – ecclesiastes 3:11

Eternity is written on our hearts. So, when we’re watching Gone with the Wind, we know there’s a book somewhere infinitely more alluring – that it’s okay that the movie exists because the book is waiting on the shelf to be plunged into so that its beauty can be seen for what it is. Eternity is written on our hearts so that when we sit in an outside room on a ridiculously cold day just to hear the birds sing, we’re captured by their song, not worried about the fact that our hands are turning odd colors and not functioning quite as well as they did ten minutes ago. Eternity is written on our hearts because God is watching us live through the movie, waiting for the day to shove us headlong into the book where everything is its infinite self, and he wanted us to know his excitement.