There is a scene in the movie American Beauty that always moves me. I call it the plastic bag scene aka So Much Beauty… Footage of a plastic shopping bag caught in a whirlwind is used to demonstrate the possibilities of “more” to this world that what we are conditioned to absorb. I’m a beauty junkie. Can’t get enough. Will stop in the middle of a crowd if I sense anything beautiful. It’s my one weakness. So, whenever this scene finds its way into my experience I always allow the time to take it in.
Coincidence Cafe with Ana Komorebi.
November 20, 2013
ONENESS – My Plastic Bag Moment
On Friday, 11/8/13, at about 2:30 I was getting ready to go for one of my long walks (3+ miles). I went into the 1st floor bathroom to wash my hands and saw rapid movement outside the window, so I looked. What I saw was a black, plastic bag whirling around the enclosed back yard. It was dancing in the hands of a vortex that swept it up and down, left and right. It reminded me of the scene in the movie “American Beauty” where two young neighbors watched a video the male character had taken of a plastic bag twirling in a joyous whirlwind.
I was so moved I sat down on the toilet, elbows propped atop the window’s ledge, head in hands, staring at it for over 30 mins. It was so personal. Felt like a performance meant just for me.
During that time I watched the reflections of the wrinkled bag contort, reshape, and offer a myriad of recognizable images with each new turn. Faces, animals, cartoon figures. I saw it all, mesmerized. I had to tear myself away in order to grab my camera, go outside, and take a few pictures, in hopes of capturing what I was seeing. In total, I took 34 pictures – each rendering unique views of these images within images. One of those photos is the one shared here. Can you see the dozens and dozens of images formed by and through the waves of its folds?
The experience was ineffable. And, as the character in American Beauty says in the above referenced scene… “Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it…”
I’ve had the actual experience depicted in this whirlwind art showing, twice. Both lasted a breathtaking lifetime, and, in each case I had to pull myself away from its never-ending nature. Neither time did I have my camera with me, or was I willing to risk retrieving it only to return and find the experience had climaxed without me. One is described in the Facebook post you see to the left. The other is delineated below.
You see, we have a sort of vortex area in the rear of our house. It’s naturally generated, I believe, from a combination of the placement of build of the detached garaged in its proximal relationship to the house, a Victorian built in 1876, the wall effect created by the property line fence, and how winds typically blow in this part of the world’s geography, balanced amongst other influences of the etherial, as well. Therefore, when a plastic bag makes its way through the labyrinth of twists and turns in that area of our property and finds it has entered the back yard land of Narnia, magic happens. We have lots of shit floating around our plot – usually loose from fly away debris from a garbage pick up debacle, or trash dropped by the dozens of folks who wait for the S45 bus along the north/west corner of our yard. Most of it blows on and through, or I pick it up on one of my weekly walk-abouts for that purpose. Shapeshifting in order to land in the narrow stretch of the south/east corner of our property, is a feet of acrobatic proportions, and is rare. So, when it happens I take note.
My favorite experience was several years ago when my son was on a long get away in upstate NY. I had the whole house to myself. It was late afternoon in spring, a day of gentle, cooling breezes waving across the ole homestead. I had the kitchen window open to air out the place, and was in the midst of doing a few dishes. Though we have a dishwasher I don’t use it. I’ve always preferred the tactile experience of doing them in a stream of warm water and a sink filled with bubbles. Not sure what the psychological reasons might be for that, but I’ll own whatever diagnosis correlates, as I find the experience meditative. On that particular day, I looked up and out and saw this plastic bag spiraling up, around, this way and that in a Martha Graham influenced dance, moves repeated over and again within the constructs of the organic dance floor divined by Source. I froze in awe. Turned off the water so I could fully enjoy the sensory experience. It was erotic. I was mesmerized – couldn’t look away. Didn’t want to. And, after what felt like half an hour I knew if I didn’t break free I’d be there until the weather changed. So, against my longing desire, and in step with my better judgement, I pulled my attention back, never to be satisfied by the endless intercourse of the material world with that of the element of air.
I gift the same to you now, with the sharing of that scene from American Beauty below… (runtime: 3:13)