Saturday, November 5, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/04/16: Oxbow Lake Nature Preserve, *Eye in the Sky*, *The Last Waltz*

1.  I hopped in the Sube and buzzed north and east about twelve miles or so to the Oxbow Lake Nature Preserve, a Nature Conservancy site. The trail was coarse, not the kind of smooth walking trail I've found at places like the Patuxent Research Reserve or Delta Ponds in Eugene or the path around Greenbelt Lake. The lake was a glorious sight, peaceful, rimmed with fall colors and teeming with geese calmly gliding, sometimes in formation, and, if not gliding, going head first, rump up, into the water or vigorously shaking themselves. They were also fairly far away. I took pictures, but I haven't looked at them yet. It felt like my lens didn't have enough reach for the kind of picture I might have hoped for and the trees and bushes were so thick along the trail, it was challenging to get a clear shot. No matter. The walk helped pacify me.

2. When I arrived back home, I finished watching the drone strike movie Eye in the Sky, mainly because I love watching Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman at work. As I understand it, this was Rickman's last role on film. That added poignance to my experience.  Throughout the movie, I flashed back to other movies I've watched Alan Rickman in -- oddly, I thought especially of Dogma and Snow Cake (I've never seen Die Hard, any of the Harry Potter movies, or Love Actually) and kept thinking how beautifully Rickman plays the world weary character, pained and fatigued by what he's seen and endured in the world, and from this well of suffering, insight rises. If Lieutenant Frank Benson's last words in this movie were the last words Alan Rickman spoke as an actor on screen, those words, how he delivered them, the pain and weariness and slight contempt that informed them, to me, capped his acting career perfectly.

3.  I know I've mentioned this before, but even though I listened to a lot of album oriented rock music when I was younger, I came to appreciate certain groups much later in life. Pink Floyd springs to mind. So does Fleetwood Mac. Likewise, Steely Dan. And Tom Petty. I realized tonight that only now, about forty-five or so years late, am I coming to fully appreciate and love The Band. I first watched The Last Waltz back in the summer of 1981 at the Bijou in Eugene and saw it again about fifteen years ago in Portland. It's available on Amazon Prime and I watched it again tonight and it was as if I'd discovered a new band.  Maybe having seen the Levon Helm documentary, Ain't in It for My Health and having watched one of those VHI-style hour long documentaries of The Band helped me appreciate them more.  I don't know why I'm such a come lately to to deeply enjoying The Band -- but something has happened as I've aged that has made me receptive to their music in a way I never was when The Band and I were contemporaries.

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