Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A turning of seasons (featuring Children of Men. And Christmas).

At last, a season has come.

I can see it now: Driving down a narrow road in the freshness of morning, watching the sun bounce off the surface of a multitude of orange leaves strewn about on the side of the road. It looks as if the road is surrounded by a cheerful blaze, one that dances in the wind like the heart of a fire being stirred. It’s nice, to see such a fluctuation.

It doesn’t happen often, not where I choose to hang my hat. Los Angeles is a land that tends to exist in a state of perpetual uniformity, the Sun hanging high in the air, tossing down overbearing rays that hit the top of human heads like immense weights; and the sweat, it comes from the effort. The effort of enduring it.

But now, the season has changed. A brisk wind soars throughout the wind-tunnels of city streets, drying out my skin until my hands crack and bleed. Rain roars for but an instant, then is suddenly silenced except for a solitary whispering drizzle. And it gives moments. Moments where a man like me can stand atop a parking garage and see the last vestiges of sunlight burn their mark into the suddenly -- wonderfully, oh so wonderfully -- numerous clouds, their enduring moments being a true signal that the inevitable change that the seasons bring has finally come around.

And yes, it is a change. Enough to have you looking into the sky, down at the ground, at your hands; watching that previously mentioned blood seep slowly down along the cracks in your hands, feeling the cells rush in circles, looking for someplace to go, anyplace to flow…but there is nowhere. Because the change, in the air, it doesn’t, didn’t bode well for the sake of the those blood vessels, pumping through the heart with a thirst for sweet oxygen. It changed, and the blood died. You can see that all in the dribble down your hand. In that season changing in the air.

The seasons come…they always come.
And things are finally different. Different enough, anyhow.

Different enough…to give a different kind of chance.

Another movie is there, out there in the world. A movie? A film. A film where men are killed, for no reason other than wanting to help out a friend. A film where people lock things away, treasure them, but don’t allow them to be within a realm in which people, not a person, people could get a chance to care. Children of Men. It’s called Children of Men. And this day, this last night, this morning: I’ve suddenly declared it the best film of the year. #1 in 2006. Five days before its end.

I’d say it’s about seasons, in it’s own special way.

Seasons of trust, seasons of understanding, seasons of hope, seasons of love, seasons of ideas, seasons of oppression; seasons where woman loses the central figure to her uniting metaphor, and man forces himself to cry until all he may cry are tears of hot blood. This is a film where women are inexplicably infertile, and the men have stupidly let lose the damnable dogs of war. A season of the worst of us.

And when that season turns? It turns to hope. It’s that hope that burns in all of us, even if it exists as a mere ember that glows with the faintest spark; it burns us. With unity, with beginning, with the knowledge that things will change, and maybe for the better. Because they must. Because they have to. Because they are going to. Because all that spark does...is burn. A baptism by fire, that lets hope spring eternal, even if it happens to be on a filthy mattress in a room full of shadows, in a city built upon ghosts.

As the seasons always change, there is always a space for hope. For if there isn’t…then hope need not exist at all. And if that were the case, then we -- not me, not I, but every last fucking one of us, as a whole -- are certainly already dead. In all the ways that count.

In all the ways that we get trapped in, which the film chooses to elaborate on via a thematically sound feat of technical bravado, a series of colossal one-ers that drag us down into the putrid horror of those moments, letting us taste the gray, but still, still, still…giving us a frame or two of glory. A sequence that hits us right where it hits them, them, the people in that world eerily similar to our own. A moment where the season hits its stride, and that hope comes into bloom. For an instant, maybe. But it’s there.

They’re always there.

It’s not terribly surprising that this film came out on Christmas Day. But not, perhaps, in the way that first springs to mind. I mean, yes, there certainly are comparisons to be drawn from the concept of the birth of a savior, and a host of other details that might be connected to the concept of the nativity. Hell, I’d even be willing to call it the second best example of the nativity this year (with the champion being the story presented with modern perspective from the point-of-view of Joseph, as presented on the December 15th edition of “This American Life”).

But I, in yet another of my decidedly un-clandestine displays of foolishness, believe I shall declare that this grand display of thematic marketing exists because of one of the underwritten tenants of the Christmas holiday: the unseen truth.

Christmas functions as an excuse, a day where the more timid of us can tell others what they (in all honesty) should already know. Not because they aren’t observant enough, but because people, in all our bravery, never bothered to speak it aloud. A day where we make our season change.

Moreso than gifts, moreso than carving roast-beast and other such things -- for whatever reason, people choose Christmas as a day to finally declare things to one another. Love, for example. And on a grander scale, amongst those things that we all know about, but don’t bother to shout to the rafts on a frequent enough basis, we have the beauty of human hope. People remember it.

They call their friends and wish them love, even if the holiday means nothing to them, even if they’re sick of commercialism, sick of the commercials themselves, sick of the fact that they don’t even celebrate the damn thing; they still look at their calendar and go out to say hello.

The day itself means nothing. But what it makes happen, sometimes, sometimes, sometimes…makes you look out at the world with hope-colored glasses.

Yes, even if you live in a dystopian wasteland.
The wind blows, and the seasons change.

And the leaves, they do green anew.

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