Writing about personal interests was dormant for much of my 25-year corporate communications life. Sure, I authored speeches for execs and articles for company rags, but the words typically had a prescribed agenda to which I adhered. When I began writing my spiritual journey memoir three years ago, my creative freedom was unleashed. Around that same time, I began receiving nightly visions of seagulls soaring over crashing waves against jagged rocks. Why was this scene coming to me night after night, I thought? Was I about to “take flight?”
No John James Audubon, the only reference I had about coastal birds was a film, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which my sixth grade teacher had encouraged her class to see because she’d read the best-selling book. I took the visions as signs that I was to watch it again, and see it through different eyes than those belonging to my 1974 youth. Because back when I was 12, I recall the movie being way over my head. I’d go so far as to describe it as dark, heavy and flat-out boring, as minutes flew by without a word uttered. And, there wasn’t a single human in the film. Just seagulls. Seagulls for days.
However, back in the 70s, there were two things that I did find fascinating about the movie: the beautiful cinemaphotography and Neil Diamond’s music on the soundtrack, whose album cover featured Diamond in a pose that looked as if he was squatting to take a crap on the beach. So, three years ago, I revisited the motion picture from the cozy confines of my home, marking 35 years after my initial viewing at my hometown’s Clark Cinema.
After turning off the DVD, I realized that times had changed. Well, not so much the times, as much as I had changed. From it’s opening scenes to the closing credits, the movie struck my emotional bull’s-eye. As a man at mid-life, it now spoke volumes. The story of a bird, Jonathan, who dared defy the norm and seek out greater experiences, the film reached out from my plasma screen and sunk itself into my soul. Jonathan was being led to communicate and connect on a higher spiritual plateau than the rest of the flock. He believed he was chosen. Chosen to broaden his own horizon and to help others make similar leaps of faith.
Damn, that movie was so ahead of its time back in the 70s! Glad I’m finally catching up!
Love and light,