It was the middle of the night and I was battling the onslaught of a nasty cold. The pain of a swollen throat and waves of fever and chills were overtaking most of my waking thoughts, which had been in deep contemplation about the future of the country. And at that moment, the strangest thought appeared in my head, as if from a voice out of nowhere. It said “The answer to all of this conflict is in The Field of Dreams.”
And it didn’t mean the Elysian Fields or some other deep-seeded myth or mystical place.
Yeah, that pretty much was my response as well. (WTF??)
Truth be told, my family had the movie on VHS, and on my own as a young person often home by myself, I must have popped it in and watched it dozens of times. But why? I’ve never been a fan of baseball (hockey was more of my jam), though my grandfather had been on the road to major leagues as a catcher before a broken thumb and WWII sidelined him.
I’ve actually never really thought about why I loved the movie so much. Considering it now, there’s some occult themes in there – dealing with spirits/the dead, the weaving of Fate, various worlds merging/overflowing, the power of memory, and following your belief to manifest something despite the norm/being considered weird. It’s also about redemption, healing, overcoming adversity and small minds, and finding common ground in a larger concept that unites us all. It also has James Earl Jones in it, which is pretty much a solid reason to see any movie, IMHO.
But I haven’t seen it any time recently, so it popping in my head like that in the middle of the night was even weirder. Instead of dismissing it, I focused on it – and I don’t think I’m anywhere near unraveling this revelation imparted upon me in a fevered state, but I figured I’d give it a shot.
I first thought about Ray and Annie as this hippy couple working to connect with their family roots and the land by buying a farm and working it – being progressive folks in rural middle America and the static that causes. Then I thought about the initial message The Voice gave Ray “If you build it, he will come” to the end with Terence Mann saying “People will come” – followed by a line of cars heading towards the field as the credits roll. Maybe it’s about a common vision, the power of mutual memories, that regardless of who we may be individually, we all have a vision of something better. Or that even big differences in families/beliefs could be overridden when we allow ourselves to see beyond ourselves and our boxes.
And I also thought of one of my favorite scenes from the movie (Annie was definitely a hero to me as a kid):
Which is so incredibly relevant to a lot of what I’m hearing/seeing today. It’s so easy to get caught up in rhetoric, culturally-shaped opinions and mindsets, and how we’re so very different – that we often fail to see how much we are alike. It’s easier to hide behind propaganda and social norms, to dismiss those that think or feel differently, and much harder to make that effort to find that common ground.
There’s also the scope of the larger theme – taking a very real risk to uncover deeper meaning, to stand up for what you believe in your heart when your brain (or other people’s brains) are telling you differently. That real change is never easy, and you may have to face ridicule from others who don’t understand.
Really, there is a whole lot of metaphysical and spiritual depth hiding in this movie, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Trust me, I’m feeling quite like Ray pondering this, somewhere between incredulous and intrigued, with a side of “oh really?”
Maybe it was just the product of a fever. Or maybe there’s something to it. What common ground/vision do we all have? How do we put aside disbelief and manifest it? How do we stand up for our rights and beliefs while still making a connection. What does our path call us to do as witches and p-words? How do we ease our pain and that of others? How do we build a future vision and go the distance that’s required of us?
Maybe we should all go watch the movie and reconvene on this topic again soon. Ideally after I’m done being on a complex regiment of cold medication.