Sorry, I came here to talk about the movie...sort of.
It starred Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. Both of whom were excellent. You know Streep is going to be good, but I was pleasantly surprised at what an authentic and present performance
Grant gave. He's really aged and it makes him seem so much more a man and not the silly boy he's always been.
The theater was surprisingly packed and mostly with women, of a certain age. I didn't notice it initially in the dark. I'm usually the first at a film so that I can get exactly the seat I want and then watch all the other people coming in and make snap judgements about them. I was late, why doesn't matter. (For once I'm not elaborating.)
I'm not going to explain what the whole story was, but just to say that it was a true story and done pretty close to the actual. She was a woman who had given her all to music, setting up theaters and artist's salons and funding, in many ways, the music scene in Manhattan (?) I don't remember.
Her greatest desire was to sing on stage herself, but she couldn't carry a tune. She tragically had syphilis which impaired her hearing, and brought a lot of other sufferings with it that she endured. And a whole lot of fortitude. Long story short, she was never really understood or appreciated for what she did, in just about all areas of her life. Except for her husband, who stuck by her even though he knew she never could actually sing. She was very lucky in that way. The look of her, the design of the rooms, her manner, all reminded me of one of my grandmothers (the city one) and made for a melancholy mood.
When the movie was over and the theater had emptied - I always stay until the very last credits, I don't like walking out with the others - a wave of mild astonishment flashed through me. The room was still about a third full. I'm moving my eyes around without moving my head and I see that, sitting in the same silence I am, are most of these women of a certain age. Short white hair in tight curls and unfashionable glasses. It was the saddest feeling because I suddenly understood that they were probably remembering, were hurting. That to a certain degree, that was them up on the screen. Women whose talents, of whatever degree, had not been recognized. That they knew that life had passed them by and they would never get what Florence had longed for - to be seen, to be applauded, if only slightly, for their talent. The kind of silent talent that all women possess. It was an unacknowledged club and I was a member of it. I'm separated from most of them by about 10 years but very often get seen as a daughter because I look unusually young for my age. I'd been crying just a little, for Florence, and it got a little heavier for them. I sat even after they all left because I didn't want to face them, to see what was in their eyes, I knew it for myself and it's hard for me to swallow down to untroubled.
My intention was to drive out afterwords to my grandparents (the other ones, the country ones) old farm in Yamhill, which I already know is decaying, the house and little sheds falling in on themselves. I think it was a bad decision, but it was the plan and I didn't have another. It's a beautiful drive. It used to be all farm land but now it's disturbingly being engulfed by vineyards. Evidently the world needs a whole lot of Oregon wine. But still it's pretty.
My grandfather was a man-of-all-trades, a butcher by profession, but he could do anything.
This is the insulation he installed. It is Ponderosa pine needles, laid meticulously, one straight handful on top of the other. It's a work of art in it's self.
I think this grandmother might have felt the same way too. A lot of her talents, very simple but honed to a high skill, were scoffed at, especially by her grandchildren. We thought they were old fashioned and silly, but now I see what an incredible woman she was. And her quiet and unrecognized pride. I could strongly feel the silent resignation of these woman, these brave and skilled and talented women. And that even if the skill and talent weren't there, as it wasn't for Florence, the bravery is something that should be honored. And I felt the weight of the fact that it still goes on. That simple and heartfelt is still not given the value that it deserves.
I gathered some pears and apples from the knotty trees. They never get eaten. Their perfume sates us for weeks, sitting in a bowl on the kitchen table. It was the smell that greeted you when opening the back door, coming from the cold storage bin. It preserved them well with the absence of heat. That smell made me feel that I had arrived at a place where there was peace. A different world for a few days in the middle of summer.
My day started like this yesterday, moving forward, curious, brave, interested.