Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Few of my Favorite Things

Listen to this post:

I have a secret.

I love the Sound of Music. You remember that scene where Mother Superior and Sister Margareta are arguing over whether Sister Maria is more of a flibbertyjibbet or a will-of-the-wisp? I think it's hysterical. And that scene where the kids are hanging out of the trees like a troop of gibbons while the Captain and the Baroness drive by? I bristle in indignation at that primping usurper of domestic felicity. And that youngest daughter? Cutest thing ever! I love it all, except for that scene where the oldest Van Trapp daughter squeals like a piglet at the chopping block to express her admiration for Franz, the priggish Austrian Nazi. I, and the whole world, could have gone without that moment in cinematic history. Poorly done love scenes aside, I am a fan, and on rainy days, I am more likely than the average person to be humming drivel about rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

Without further prelude, on this rainy week in DC, here are a few of my favorite things:

1) Getting letters from foreign countries. No one can argue (and if they would, shame on them!) that getting a letter marked Par Avion with a strange stamp sent from a Rue or a Straat or an Avenida is not better than an e-mail.

2) Old stone churches with stained glass windows, architecture and imagery that does not forget that the traffic through the soul's windows flows in two directions.

3) Cuddling babies, particularly my nephew

4) Taking the concept of cooking from scratch to the extreme. If I could find a way to mill my own flour, I probably would, but so far, I've run into some insurmountable logistical problems.

5) I can walk away from woodwinds, piano, and brass but I will always stop to listen to anything with strings.

6) Rocking chairs on wrap-around porches while a summer rain falls

7) The painting of the Repentance of the Magdalene now hanging in the National Gallery of Art - it steals my breath away.

8) Running fast and far, along a river, in the woods, by the sea

9) "Aha!" moments

10) Reading aloud

I have often wondered why I like The Sound of Music. I usually don't succumb to the saccharine, but I think I've finally figured it out. The Sound of Music is a schoolgirl's tender manifesto, an affirmation of God, family, and human kindness presented to a world that his witnessed the most obscene betrayals of these things. The appropriate note to hit would be one of somber cynicism, and instead we get "Doe, a deer, a female deer, ray, a drop of golden sun, me, a name to call myself, and fa, a long, long way to run." Sometimes optimism is a fool's retreat, like when Neville Chamberlain promised the world "peace in our time" after abandoning Czechoslovakia to the dubious mercy of the Reich; and sometimes, optimism is an act of supreme valor.

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