Monday, July 1, 2013
I will freely own to emotional reactions, to books, songs, movies, even (heaven help me) TV shows. A touching or even a blatantly sentimental scene can bring a tear or so, and I usually know very well I’m being “played” and smile sheepishly while the tears trickle down my cheeks. There are other reactions, though. I well remember being grateful that I watched Schindeler’s List in the comfort of my own home, because I wept helplessly through it, and this time, the reaction was more than trivial. Usually, I know when such things are coming, but once in a while, a book will ambush me and take me completely by surprise. I do *not* expect to be completely undone while reading a frothy Phryne Fisher novel, for all love! I’ve been reading some of the later books in this charming series, and it is “growing up” in terms of the seriousness with which it is treating some very delicate issues, but it is still light, though enjoyable and satisfying fare. Imagine my surprise then, when, while reading “Queen of Flowers” to find myself, not with a tear in y eye, but weeping! This was not a pathetic or sad incident, but one that portrayed incredible bravery, compassion and promise. War is a terrible thing, (and I seem to have been reading a lot of WWI novels recently), and all too often terrible wounds blight the lives of very young men who end up not just horribly hurt but tossed aside, from society, from friends, and even from those from whom they should have been able to expect love and support. So, to read of how one such mold wasn’t just broken but utterly shattered, completely undid me. Sometimes, though, I have come to learn that the tears that fall so freely and irrationally are expressions of gratitude and hope, because I am reminded that, with all our faults, my species is still capable of empathy and a kind of unconditional love.