Monday, February 22, 2010

Pandora In My Backyard

I finally got around to seeing the movie Avatar with my daughter last Friday. I'm not much of a movie-goer. There's something about paying money to sit in a dark room watching a screen that doesn't get me motivated, and sadly, when my family convinces me to join them I more often than not doze through much of it.

That said, I only nodded off once during Avatar largely because, as everyone says (even the people who don't like the movie) it is spectacular eye candy. Specifically, I was entranced by the world of Pandora and the incredibly beautiful scenes of its rain forest. I appreciated the environmental message, sympathized with the good guys and was outraged at the bad guys, but the part that has stuck with me are those scenes of Jake and Neytiri playing in the forest, surrounded by all that lush, "natural" gorgeousness.

It was not lost on me that the Earthlings had brought "school" to the Na'vi as one of the tools they were hoping to barter for natural resources, but it was rejected, I hope because these more perfect, fictional indigenous people already had their education handled. All the scenes in which Jake Sully was being "trained" to become one of the Ne'vi were filled with laughter, exploration, and risk taking. You know, play. But that was just a little, intellectual eddy I briefly drifted into as scene after scene of animated forest beauty passed in front of me in 3-D.

 Image of the Pandora rain forest

On Saturday, I took my two dogs for a walk in a patch of what's left of the Pacific Northwest rain forest. I live near Seward Park which is on a peninsula that curls into Lake Washington. Most people stick to the paved walking/biking path that runs along the water, but the dogs and I chose the less popular trails that crisscross the rest of the 270-acre park.

The images of Avatar were still fresh in my mind as we walked through this tamed forest and it suddenly hit me: Pandora's got nothing on this place.

These are a few of the pictures I snapped with my phone's camera.

I'm not much of a photographer and my phone's not much of a camera, but you get the idea. I walk here with my dogs several times a week. It's in my own back yard, but I was seeing it anew through the fresh eyes of having sat in that dark room watching a screen.

I've read that many people have reported feeling depressed after seeing Avatar, saying that they wish they could live on Pandora. I've got good news: we already do. Now, if we will only keep it.

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Deborah Stewart said...

Wow those are beautiful photos - can't believe you captured those with a cell phone. I would love to take a walk through that park too! I am not much of a movie goer myself. I tell my husband that because I work with preschoolers - I now have a short attention span:)

Unknown said...

How breathtaking, Tom! My dogs would LOVE this park!! These photos make me want to visit Seattle that much more. I live in the desert, not much lush life hear. :) p.s. you and your camera phone did a great job!

Launa Hall said...

Thanks for the reminder, Teacher Tom. Ahh, the Pacific Northwest. Love it there.

Unknown said...

Beautiful, Tom!

Unknown said...

Wow. The pictures are amazing. Absolutely amazing. I love them. And I LOVE that we have such a beautiful world all around us. We just have to appreciate it. And look for the beauty. There is always beauty to be found.

Thank you for this amazing post and perspective.

Heba said...

Loved the post! Made me stop and think. Thank you.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Beautiful pictures. That is a lovely place.
I thought the movie was ok and the effects were amazing. I laugh that you nodded off because after two hours I leaned over to my friend and asked, "How long IS this movie?"

Maya Catching Butterflies said...

I agree. There is so much to be seen and enjoyed all around us -- we just have to stop and see it. However, I still would love to commute on one of those Japanese paper crane inspired Pterodactyls.

Vicki Ehlers said...

Thanks for the reminder to see the beauty in our own nearby nature...and to share it with others!

SurprisedMom said...

I haven't seen Avatar, but your post has me intrigued.

The photos are beautiful. I wanted to walk through that forest. I felt myself relaxing after looking at all the beauty. It's a pity there is only small patches of this beauty left.

Play for Life said...

Whoa ... so beautiful Tom!
Donna :) :)