Thursday, July 5, 2007

Metaphorical Mayhem

Navajo Monument Valley Rug
Navajo Pictorial Rug

I was overwhelmed with contrary information: What was once good is now bad; the negative has become positive; the villain becomes the hero; and the hero falls from grace. Awareness only confounds the issues, right became wrong and what was fact is truly fiction. My mind was reeling; I was confounded, confused and to be quite frank . . . loving it!

The reason my world was in such a chaotic state was a recent visit to the northland. Laurie, the kids and I were in Provo on another short and quick whirlwind weekend tour of necessity and pleasure. The necessity included doctor visits and the like. The pleasure included, family, food and movie marathons.

On our off hours, Laurie takes great pleasure in visiting with her sisters and enjoys the associated family interaction. I love those girls, but they can only tolerate my contrary attitude and off-kilter sense of humor in short bursts. For their benefit I often excuse myself. Luckily, my brother-in-law, Wade, has similar taste in cinema and cuisine, so we hook-up, drag any kid along who desires the finer things in life and hit the theaters.

On this particular day we took in a Spiderman 3 matinee with Alyssa and later that evening Pirates of the Caribbean, At Worlds End, with Spenser. The only thing that could have improved the day would have been a preview of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Alyssa and McKale did give me a Star Wars III video for Father's Day on Sunday, which we watched in the van on the way home; "Good Stuff".

Navajo Folk Art Sculpture
Navajo Folk Art

"Kids Stuff" you may say! "Brain dead nonsense", think you! Au contrair say I! Marvel Comics, Disney Pictures and yes, even Tolken. Lucas and Spielberg admittedly draw inspiration from clearly established myth, legend and religious dogma. What better to inspire interest in moviegoers than to tap into age old stories that have survived the test of time. It is truly fascinating to witness the mix and presentation of cultures in these movies. Throw in a healthy dose of fantasy, creativity, drama and the excitement of special effects, and "boom, bang, bing!' you have a blockbuster.

I make my kids crazy at these films, they tell me I over-analyze what I perceive to be the metaphor. "Just sit there and watch the movie," they say. "Easier said than done", say I. I have trained myself to keep (mostly) quiet during the show, but after the fact I want to talk about it. The kids have learned to anticipate my wishes and opt out of any discussion as soon as they possibly can.

I am fascinated by the hidden meaning, struggle to interpret the message and can't wait until a new clue is unveiled. Because of the deeper meaning and relationship to basic human emotion the movie comes alive for me. We learn that the lines between good and evil, right and wrong, heroes and villeins are often smudged, unclear in the face of love, hate, fear, pride, greed and jealousy. Human (or alien) emotion is often the cause of great disaster and/or even greater triumph. To discover the intended is great fun; fascinating!

I became interested in various cultures, myth and legend and associated metaphor here in Bluff, and, mostly, at the Twin Rocks trading post. We are gifted with the association of a myriad of unique individuals and beliefs. I feel there is much, much more to learn and room to grow mentally and emotionally. These people, and especially the artists we deal with, are our own personal tutors and mentors.

Navajo Pictorial Basket
Navajo Pictorial Basket by Peggy Black

Through the art we learn of Navajo myth and legend, ceremonial practice and life ways. Walking through the store causes me to ponder the message each piece of art represents. Tales of superheros; unsuspecting activists; disruptive beings; the search for understanding; management of emotion; and the discovery of who and what you are and where your potential lies,"It's in there".

As we share the Navajo interpretations our customers often open up and relate their own parallel thoughts and beliefs. By listening closely and striving to be open-minded, we learn what is important and meaningful to others. This sharing of thoughts and information creates an atmosphere of education around here. We enjoy the interaction on all levels, and find it stimulating to mind and soul.

So, until a Bluff film festival evolves out of the red rock, you may run onto a couple of guys and a couple of kids enjoying an action adventure movie or two somewhere in Utah Valley. If so, be a little patient with the emotional outbursts of the one in the middle. He is probably high on "Killer Dog", hot dogs, hefty doses of carbonated corn syrup and pumped up with metaphorical mayhem.

With warm regards,

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