Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Into the Woods

This tweet drew me in:

@mental_floss: Jim Henson's Home Movies Were Lovely —

The link led to a story about a short film by Jim Henson, "run, run". Set in the Connecticut woods in the Fall, it is what the title suggests. Two girls, Henson's daughters, run through the colorful leaves on a sunny day in 1965. Take a moment to read the article and watch the film. It isn't very long.




What do you think of it? It made me think, a lot. First of all, I had a vague sensation that something was missing. After awhile I realized it was the pathway. In my world, the CA Pathway system is a given. When was the last time you ran in the woods, away from civilization and off of pathways? Lyme disease has changed how many of us feel about straying off of the path. It's the Big Bad Wolf nipping at the heels of childhood freedom. They were carefree; we are cautious.

The girls ran. And ran. It gave me time to appreciate the dated quality of their clothing. Equally dated was the music, by Joe Raposo of Sesame Street fame. I wondered if the clothing and the music would bring to mind Columbia's golden age to someone who grew up here. Back in those golden days, did you run through the woods and stray off of the path?

On, and on. The girls were running, running without ceasing. I began to feel a bit uncomfortable, almost out of breath, watching them. The music picked up, the number of shots from different angles increased. Henson built up the level of excitement as the end drew near.

This is a lot of running, I thought. I felt like I had watched enough. After you watch enough video clips you begin to size them up pretty quickly. "Ah, I get the gist of this." And you click it off.

I was really struggling. After all, it's just two girls running in the woods. What's the point of hanging in there until the end? But--it's Jim Henson. So I hung in there. I wasn't expecting a surprise ending, or some major dramatic payoff, and there wasn't one. It was a nice short piece about two girls running in the woods on a Fall day.

By the end, though, it didn't feel short to me. It seemed interminable. The continuous running, the sameness of the background, perkiness of the soundtrack combined to give me a sense being trapped in an endless loop. I looked down as I clicked it off: 4:08.

I could barely maintain my focus on a piece of film that was four minutes long? Is this what has happened to my brain as a result of channel surfing, social media, games, autocorrect and funny cat pictures?

So, two girls were running in a yellow wood, set free in a world of whirling leaves. And it made me think. About them, about childhood's crazy energy and lost adventures, and about myself, my loss of patience and endurance.

Wednesday I have the day off. I'm going for a walk in the woods. For at least four whole minutes.




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