Documentary Film Review “Mountain”

In times of pain or sorrow, human beings find refuge in different things.  I have a friend, who used to own a book store, whose refuge is in the pages of a book.  Another friend, in walking or swimming in the ocean.  For me, when not creating artwork, it is hiking in the mountains.

Of course, I enjoy getting out on the trail no matter what I am feeling.  The physical act of hiking and being surrounded by nature has an ability to help me see things clearer and feel invigorated.  I have been quoted saying that the worst day on the trail is better than the best day in the office.

John Muir said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.”  I couldn’t agree with him more.  Right now with the state of the world what it is…. it is a little more challenging getting out to the mountains.  So I did what anyone who dreams of mountains would do…. I watched a documentary about them.

Mountain still from film

Film Still from the documentary “Mountain”

Released in 2017 “Mountain” is an Australian documentary film directed by Jennifer Peedom.  The only word to truly describe the cinematography is spectacular.  While exploring high peaks from around the world, this film tells about the relationship between humans and mountains across time.  Parts of the film take one through the dizzying rush of ascending and descending the peaks.  Other parts of the film are soft and elegant.  For example, in one scene, the way the camera follows gently falling snow.

Besides the beautiful images, the film is Narrated by Willem Dafoe.  In my opinion, you couldn’t have a better narrator.  As part of his narration, Willem Dafoe reads passages from Robert Macfarlaine’s book Mountains of the Mind.

The musical score is performed by the Australian Chamber Orchestra.  The combination of the visual and musical of this documentary is exquisitely done.

Mountain documentary film

If given an opportunity to watch this documentary, do not pass it up.  I highly recommend this film.  A sensory feast for the eyes and ears, it is perfect during this time of social distancing.

Vicariously – Poetry Challenge

April is National Poetry Month in the United States.  In past years, to celebrate Poetry Month, I have shared poems and links to other poet’s sites.  This year I wanted to do something different.

I follow several blogs by poets.  I was inspired to do this poetry challenge after reading the following haiku poem written by Ben Dwyer.

Once I was alive

Now we live in photographs

Vicariously

-Ben Dwyer, posted January 27, 2020

I didn’t realize that the word vicariously was exactly five syllables, perfect for a haiku poem.  You can check out Ben’s WordPress site by clicking on the following link: Ben Dwyer Haiku a Day Blog

Why the word “vicariously?”  The definition of the word from Miriam Websters Online Dictionary states that it is “experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another.”  At a time in history where so many people are having to work from home, practice social distancing and participate in shelter in place, it felt appropriate that the subject of a poetry challenge be experiencing and realizing life through another person, a memory, a fictional place, dream, etc.

This got me thinking about what my friends might be able to do with the word and theme of vicariously.  I contacted Ben and told him of my idea, inspired by his poem and asked if I could use his poem in my blog.  After receiving his permission, I began to contact friends who write poetry and see if they would be interested in the “Vicariously Poetry Challenge.”  I also opened up the challenge to those who read my blog.  The results are the following poems in alphabetical order based on the poet’s name.

* * * * * * * * *

It was like two souls colliding

An impact that would be felt in every corner of my being,

Changing my very foundation

Leaving me breathless from the blow.

A breath escaped so beautiful.

So pure, unadulterated, honest.

Such a collision so powerful, so genuine,

The charge of sparking energy without equal, without rival.

Beauty and truth in its most perfect state.

As I sleep

The taste of you

On my tongue, lingers the feel of your name across my lips

Savored dreaming so clearly of moving,

Entangled breathing and crashing spirits, colliding

The feel of you beguiling

In the light I feel the charge of your skin, beneath my grip

Taut and pulling

Your flesh aching to be drawn in

To be invited to power over your senses

The will of the intertwined to connect

The rush of blood

Reeling

Feeling

To know the sensation of connectedness

The shock and bliss

So soothing, so infinitely grounding

To bathe in the flashes of the morning dews upon the grass

The piercing of the pair that creates one

The breadth of the grasping for the real, anxiously surrendered at the moment

That which ceases time

And remains until chosen to be reignited

Even if only vicariously

Even if only vicariously

-Canidae & Sif

* * * * * * * * * *

Heirloom Pearls by Samantha Houston

In a chain long and unending

Reaching far past what my eyes can see

Pain and cruelty

Insecurity and competition

A scarcity of the care which should be abundant in all things

Has been handed downward from mother to daughter

Like a strand of heirloom pearls

Choking one generation to the next.

From You

Unflinchingly

To Me.

On the day I was born

Full of potential

Believing nothing

Knowing nothing

You gave me breath.

And like an evil fairy come late to the party,

You gave me this-

A strand of heirloom pearls wrapped tight around my neck.

As tightly, I imagine

As they once fit you.

Did you know what a choking hazard they were when you placed them there?

Or did you believe that it was natural

Because they had once been given to you?

You treated this generational pain

The pain your mother gave to you

And her mother gave to her

As some sort of genetic burden.

A congenital parasite…

Without questioning its attachment.

Without questioning its worth.

You clung so tightly to this parasitic way of life

You lost perspective on where it ended and you began.

You clung as if you couldn’t live without it

And you made your illusions true.

As you watched your life waste away

As you ceded ever more control

As your parasite devoured everything around you

You made me responsible for its care.

For easing your burden.

You made me responsible for feeling your pain

So that for a moment

You didn’t have to.

Do you expect me to wear my pearls with pride

The way that you do?

To burden my girls with this generational curse you’ve nurtured so well?

Yes.

Because that would validate the way you have lived your entire life.

No, I will use the strand you have given me

To draw a line in the sand.

Your pain and insecurities

Will not live vicariously through me.

They will not have breath through me.

And they will not pass onward through me.

A thousand and one gemstones may cross my neck

Until I find the one that fits

The one that covers and heals the marks left behind by your pearls.

So that one day

When my daughters are grown

They will never have to wear necklaces at all.

And your pearls will have been left in the sand

Given back to the oysters from whence they came.

* * * * * * * * *

Vicariously,

Live through you, but lose myself.

Annihilation.

-Jill M.L. Kanewischer, February 17, 2020

* * * * * * * * *

I hope that you have enjoyed the poems written by friends and fellow bloggers.  I also hope that you take the time to check out other poets and blogs about poetry this month.

Happy Poetry Month!

Poetry Challenge

April is National Poetry Month in the United States.  If you are a regular follower of my blog, you are aware that I write haiku poetry.  I also highlight poet’s and poetry in a special blog post each April.  This year, I wanted to do things a little differently.  I am inviting my readers to participate in a poetry challenge.

HERE ARE THE RULES:

  1. The poem must be an original creation of the person submitting it.
  2. The poem must use the word “Vicariously” as either the title or as part of the poem.
  3. The poem cannot be longer than 500 words.
  4. The poem must be sent to me via my contact page or by my personal email address, before April 1st.
  5. Please list your name or how you would like to be recognized and the name of your blog, if you have one.  I will try to add a link to all WordPress blogs for other authors on this site.
  6. Poems received will be posted on my blog in a special post celebrating poetry month.  I am anticipating publishing this blog post on April 2, 2020.

I am purposefully not giving very much time to write a poem.  To often, creatively, when we see something like this if we say to ourselves, “oh that’s cool, I’ll do it later.”  We think too long or we forget and we miss the opportunity.  But if you want to write a poem, quick write it, submit it to me via my contact page or email and it is done.  You have shared your creativity.

Disclaimer.  As author of the blog “Cats Out of the Box,” I have the right to determine if a poem is ineligible to be posted on my blog.  If that happens, I will contact the author directly.

Last and probably the most important question… why the word “vicariously?”  The definition of the word from Miriam Websters Dictionary online states that it is the “experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another.”  At a time in history where so many people are having to work from home, practice social distancing and participate in shelter in place, it felt appropriate that the subject of a poetry challenge be experiencing and realizing life through another person, a memory, a fictional place, dream, etc.

I am excited to see what other poets and creatives come up with!  I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Good Luck!