It's Spring here in the South. I can here the birds chirping outside and the screen door is open. It's a little overcast and cloudy. My Great Aunt Pat died this week after a lingering illness. My Mother is in Savannah with her Mother and Sister eating casseroles, barbeque, and a never ending abundance of dessert. Southern hospitality you know. It getting warmer here but my mind just wandered back to a February day in 1989.
It was a solid gray day. Right around 30 degrees. My friend Jennifer and I had made arrangements to meet at her house to dye my hair for the school play. (Method Actors!) To pass the time she had rented a movie. That movie made a striking impact on my life.
We read James Joyce in school, Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. I liked it. I did not read anymore Joyce. Perhaps to intellectual for 15 or 16. But this movie, at the age of 18 hit me hard. The Dead is still a transformation story for me today. The memory of seeing it for the first time is punctuated by an image of the day in all its grayness. Snowflakes falling silently in no wind. Cold seeping into our bones.
In the story, Joyce gives you a real time description of a holiday dinner party in Ireland at the turn of the century. Events recall a memory, of Michael Furey who died as a young man. It is sad. And chilling. But the love that is brought out with the sorrow is palpable.
The Dead do not leave us. They go far away and then linger in our memories. Their perfect beauty is remembered in our hearts and souls. Today feels cold and gray and snowy if I let it.