Sorry for the second submission guys (I often feel I post/email way too much relative to everyone else), but it occurred to me that something I'd once written about a dream does seem somewhat relevant, given it is about the relationship between two people and the land. I thought I'd share it too, in the event you might like it.
Awake at my Mac at roughly 3 am again, wrapped in my robe browsing the web, after waking from a dream of a girl in a garden. And when I don't have any time related signpost I have to shoot for on waking, dreams don't evaporate quickly, but get mixed up with other thoughts produced on the spot, that I recall when getting up, the first being of a scene from a movie I saw many many years ago now called "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", based on a novel by Milan Kundera that I bought many years thereafter. It's been so long since I've seen it, that I can't be sure I recall the scene accurately, but it was one of those "3-D" scenes for me, that stand out as "real" rather than fictional, and given the way the world seems to me these days, it seems an even more appealing real than usual. The movie revolves around both a couple, Tomáš and Tereza (a surgeon and a photographer), and a penumbra of personal events overlapping the years just prior to and after the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the USSR in the sixties. Circumstances basically smash their lives. Toward the end of the film they're taken in by a farmer, when circumstances no longer permit them a city life. By that time Tomáš is much older, maybe around my age, and has long since been forced by events to give up the thing he felt himself meant for, the life of a surgeon.
Now the scene I had in my head soon after waking, which may or may not be in the film exactly as described, is of Tomáš with a grin on a tractor in a field, watched by Tereza with hand poised over brow, shielding her face from the sun while working in a garden. It stood out as a "3-D" scene for me because it was so obvious they were happy, in the context of everything that had happened, working that land, and it seemed not only believable, but inevitable in that context. It's one of those rare film scenes that felt almost preternatural, that's stuck with me all these years. I don't know if it would feel that way on seeing it again, but I'd like to think so. Many years ago I named a succession of workplace computers I used "Mephisto", the name the jovial farmer of that place gave to his beer drinking pig, it bringing associations to mind of Tomáš and Tereza and that faraway farm place.
On the weekend I'd picked up a copy of "Scientific American Mind" magazine (August/Sept 2008 edition), with an article describing how the brain lights up in so many depression breaking places when the hands are used to carry out goal oriented activities, like gardening or cooking or the kind of day to day work you find in Amish places, elaborating on why that might explain the sizable increased incidence of depression in the latter half of the twentieth century as compared to the first, with so many life conveniences replacing the kinds of goal directed hand task activities that in the early part of the century everyone was steeped in. So I do think the idea of happiness, found in that aforementioned Tomáš and Tereza context, is more than just a romantic notion. There is something to it, maybe contributing in part to that "3-D" feel I had when I first saw that scene, an intuitive grasp of the truth of the happiness revealed within it.
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