A flibbity-jibbet? A will-o'-the-wisp?
I've been home the last couple of days, battling a cold or flu or some such thing. And I've had the strongest urge to watch The Sound of Music while home resting. I just finished doing so, and was struck by how immediate and emotional my reaction was. I couldn't stop tears from falling, almost constantly from beginning to end -- not just at key plot points but even at the opening credits and the intermission music.
Granted, I'm probably a little weepy just by virtue of being ill and feeling sorry for myself, but I don't think that was all of it. The moment the film started, I was instantly transported to a more innocent time -- not 1930s Austria, but 1980s Queens. I felt like a kid again; no, I was a kid again. I could see my childhood living room, could hear my mom rustling in the kitchen, could feel the chill of a New York autumn late afternoon and see the twilight outside our house mix with the glow of the streetlamp streaming through the living-room window.
My tears were not exactly sad -- they were nostalgic. I am quite sure they'd have been there even if my parents were still alive and well in that very house, because I'd still be an adult and in my own home with my own bills and responsibilities, and still be longing for a simpler time when my biggest concern was finishing a school project and when everything made a lasting impression on me.
Do we absorb things more deeply as children? And if so, does this place a responsibility on parents to ensure that their kids' early experiences with something that they may encounter over and over again throughout their lives be as positive as they can be? I suspect I'm bigger on "associations" than perhaps some others are; maybe I process, sense, feel things differently. But I do bet I'm not the only person who can see the opening credits of some beloved movie or hear the opening notes of an old song or read the opening lines of a classic book and be taken to another place and time in their own lives.
I also bet I'm not the only person to go back and play the "singalong" feature that comes on the anniversary DVD of The Sound of Music and pretend I can yodel like Maria.