Whose earth is this, I do not know,
his house … it must be all aglow!
He will not see me stopping here
to watch the ashes fall like snow,
My little kitty’s filled with dread,
and hides all day beneath the bed.
The sun is hidden in the sky,
he is certain we all must die.
(apologies to Robert Frost)
It’s a wee bit strange outside today but I’m not complaining for two reasons: First, thousands of people in the western states are currently fleeing out-of- control wildfires. Second, I just watched one of those movies that makes you doubt whether you could stand up against tyranny. Especially if you stand alone and are ridiculed by everyone around you.
The movie was A Hidden Life. The actors in the film are all virtually unknown (at least to American audiences) but the director was Terrence Malick who is known for filming raw dramas in idyllic locations. In this case, the mountains of Austria. The plot is simple. Germany is conscripting Austrian men to serve the Third Reich. The hero refuses to comply which means death. He believes the Nazis are evil and that God commands him to resist evil.
However, the real agony for the hero is being attacked by the people of his close-knit village who, out of fear or convenience, have decided not to see the truth. Their contempt for the truth-seer extends to his family who are robbed, spat at, physically attacked, and left on their own when they desperately need help. However, after he dies they suddenly awake. It’s as though the town has been cleansed by his sacrifice. This quote at the end seems to affirm that analysis:
“..for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”George Eliot
To end on a light note, on my iPhone tonight under Trending Stories: “Man stranded in a lake saved by floating Tiki bar of priests claims ‘Sign of God.'” What the hell do you think that means?