Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Beauty and the Beast" with Shoes

I love this movie--the Disney version.  The music, the characters, the animation.  I like the message (as my grand daughter explained--I like the Beast best because he learns how to love and that's the most important thing).

And we were cuddled together on the couch watching the movie which was great for two reasons: most important was the cuddling, but a close second was that it gave me a chance  to rest from running up and down the slope in the backyard without admitting ...well, you know, granma not so good at the whole running up and down thing anymore.

And yet, and yet, Belle misses her whole town as she walks through the morning bustle with her nose in book.  Everything. No freshly baked baguettes, she doesn't see all the little kids clustered around their frazzled mother, sheep nuzzle her while she sits by the fountain and reads and she seems unaware of their soft noses, their lanolin greased wool.... (Though I guess missing out on the sheep aroma might be on the positive side of the ledger.)

Belle is wearing shoes and doesn't touch the ground.  She wants more than her little provincial town; she knows "there must be more than this."

There is, of course, and she finds it: enchanted castle, a prince hidden inside the body of a beast, danger, courage, and true love.

I still tear up at the ending, when all is lost and unexpected grace and the power of love bring that leap of joy, the fairy tale twist that breaks your heart.  The Beast is brought back to life because he has learned to love and because Belle has learned to see beyond appearance (though he does turn into the rather boring handsome prince).

So what?   Why do I (over) analyze this beautifully animated, happy ending Disney movie? I think it's because I've spent so much of my life nose in a book, a head full of dreams, and feet that don't touch the ground.  I love words, the play of them, the sounds, the elusiveness.  Imagination: dragons that ride the wind, Frodo destroying the Ring, glittering unicorns glimpsed in the night.  Remembering.  My babies. The taste of grape Popsicles. My dad carrying me in from the car when I pretended to be asleep.  My mother reading to me, on chapter of the Bible everynight (except of course the "begats."  We skipped those.)

But so much is lost.  I read while nursing my babies.  How many times was I so lost in a book, in writing, that I didn't see anything around me, didn't hear what was said?

And yet--here I am.  Writing about being barefoot on the ground. Imaging this piece finished.  How to end it.

Wondering what you will think.



  1. Perhaps living in the moment means dealing too much with reality, and it's nicer to live in books and dwell on words, instead. Or not.

  2. Mary, you took the words right off the tips of my fingers...I am so busy "seeing" what is going on that I get lost in that and loose sight of the wonder and the magic. Gwen, you and your brother can so easily get lost in a book, while I am stuck here in reality. I am envious.

    AND, I will never have more important things to do than to read what you have written. Tisk, Tisk!!

  3. Someone commented in another blog that she couldn't imagine who these people are who only read three or four books a year. I responded by saying that I read books to stimulate my mind and my heart, to give new perspective to my thoughts -- but lately, my *life* has been so full of thoughts and feelings and ideas and analysis and experience that I have no need to seek the stimulation of books and, in fact, they can distract me from my now that I am living.

    As a side note, the problem I have with Beauty and the Beast (which, for the most part, I adore) is that the Beast needs to earn Belle's love, rather than merely learn how to love himself. I find that the requirement for reciprocity taints the meaning for me.

  4. I love books--have since before I could read--and slipping into that other world. But I am at the moment immersed in the now. There are other ways to escape of course from the "isness of it all." True about the reciprocity--but there's also the weird time frame. The rose drops on his 21st birthday--and it's been 10 years. The fairy cursed an 11 year old?????????

  5. I am not the book reader, maybe that is why I have to over think things in regards to reality. I too love Beauty and the Beast, the love story of it, however when my daughter was young it more of stories like Jungle Book, she never like the love stories, wonder what that means....I like to escape to my TV.