Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Young Girls with Long Hair and Sandalled Feet

I am thinking of an Alice Munro story, one whose title I cannot remember and one whose text I cannot find on my bookshelf.  Munro often creates an image that speaks exactly to something that I am feeling or didn't know that I needed to feel. 

The story I cannot locate ended, I believe, with a line about the kind of trust children place in their parents, and how parents, imperfect as we are, do not necessarily earn or deserve that trust, though we are granted it. 

That's a Munro image I keep in my heart, and return to, when I am feeling awed.

But that's not the image I'm contemplating now. 

This image is at once literary and cinematic, from both Munro's story "The Bear Went over the Mountain" and Sarah Polley's film of that story, Away from Her.

It is "young girls with long hair and sandalled feet."

The image refers to university students, as seen by a male professor through his rather lusty lens, but my lens is not his. 

I still see female students, but they are, perhaps, my daughters, not yet teenagers, sitting at their desks with their home-salon pedicures in purple or aqua (often both). 

Or perhaps they are young college-age women, whose sandalled feet identify them as still in those precious years of study and contemplation, before they change into professional shoes and begin their careers.

My lens is tender, maybe a bit nostalgic, but mainly full of hope for these young girls with long hair, hope that they will embrace their youth (of course they will) and have many, many years to look back upon these sandalled days.

*image by Kiki Smith, Come Away from Her after Lewis Carroll

1 comment:

Kim said...

Thank you for this beautiful post.