I just watched Cold Mountain. Again. It's sort of a horrific movie, and incredibly sad. Too sad, really, to make it anything more than beautiful. I would not say that it's one of my favorite movies, but for an inexplicable reason I am drawn to the characters. I am drawn to the place, the story, the tragedy. And let me add that I love the book; that is definitely on my favorite list. Frazier (wonderful writer, wretched reader) weaves the tale of Inman and Ada with the land and the war so well that they are inseparable. Inman and Ada are practically strangers when they part. They've had only moments. As Inman says, "A thousand moments! They're like a bag of tiny diamonds glittering in a black heart. Don't matter if they're real or things I made up. The shape of your neck. The way you felt under my hands when I pulled you to me." So much of love is the resolve of the heart. The mind of the lovers. The connection. The smallest thing can become meaningful. Ada and Inman feel their separation acutely. She begs, "If you are fighting, stop fighting. If you are marching, stop marching. Come back to me. Come back to me is my request."
Cold Mountain has brought up a lot of thoughts about distance and heart. And it hasn't helped that I've been home alone. I've always been the type to love closeness. I thrive on it. And what does distance really do for us? Well, it can bring your mind clarity, allowing you to focus on specific memories. And it can bring loneliness, which reminds you of how much you love the person -- because sometimes when you have daily access to them you might get a little annoyed at all the socks around the house. I know that as human beings we need change and excitement to be successful. Often that means going separate ways for a time. A relationship cannot continue if growth is not allowed -- and sometimes that means growing pains. And while distance and separation are not fun, at least it can be romanticized and made meaningful. When Tom and I were apart for six weeks a few years ago, it was difficult. I had John Donne's 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning' hanging in the bathroom. I'd had it since high school, but during that time, it spoke to me in a truer way. Especially the last half ...
"But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.
And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun."