Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Brigadoon - The Idea

"I saw the lone empty valley
you saw Brigadoon"
(Lyrics from The Waterboys, appearing on: New York January 1985 / London Feb 1985 On "This Is The Sea", "Best Of", "Live Adventures" and "The Whole Of The Moon".)

The lyrics above are from The Waterboys song "The Whole of the Moon" and led me to the movie "Brigadoon" (see previous post).

The film has its charms, but more interesting to me is the meaning of the lyrics above: how the same place (or person or thing) can be seen by any two people and register different thoughts and feelings in both. In the film, this is not so clear, as both of the New Yorkers who stumble upon Brigadoon eventually are ensnared by the simple village life and want to stay. But early on, some of the best moments come from Van Johnson as the cynical urbanite finding the singing Scots to be way too much. Van doesn't see a lone empty valley, but he is certainly not immediately charmed by Brigadoon. Gene Kelly of course sees a beautiful valley and is hooked from the start.

But the lyrics say more than the movie shows, because they have implications for hopes, attitudes and the personal views we all bring to everything we experience. When we only see one side, and cling to it without acknowledging the other side's meaning to, and appropriateness for, someone else, we do ourselves and others a great unjustice. A "lone empty valley" or "Brigadoon"? Is there any way to say which is correct? Allowing others their views, as long as they allow yours, is for me the basis of living with other people. Hopefully everyone is diligent in having reasons for the individual views they espouse and not just repeating what someone else said.

Even more hopefully, in the great expanses, when we look and see the dull and the lack of, perhaps we can look a little closer and a little longer. We may see Brigadoon eventually after all. Remember, it only comes around every hundred years.

But I think it would be worth it to get that very rare experience.

No comments: