By John Gallaher
The children are running across the field, each
Each on his or her spindly legs.
The field's a good field.
And there are wild blackberries to be found, large
red flowers, and birdbaths.
The wind's kicking up behind them.
These children are running to run. They
to the grayness of the sky.
Their mouths are all little circles—Oh, they say,
there are so many places to be.
In the next field over, a house
is full of smoke.
It is nice, the children say,
to need to be saved from something
and then to be saved.
It is nice to have bright eyes
and to be running.
November seems to be a bit lost -- or, rather, September seems to have arrived -- and we had yet another gorgeous day of sun and warm temperatures, so we went to Huntley Meadows. The animals there, at least, seemed to know what season it was, since all the reptiles were either hibernating or hiding and there weren't any herons or egrets out fishing, though there were fish and geese and ducks and songbirds and insects. I usually start to feel light deprivation around this time of year so it's been really lovely having so many brilliant sunny days to spend outdoors.
My kids by what's left of the big tree that we've visited at Huntley Meadows since they were small children.
Canada geese were hiding in the tall grass in the wetlands...
...as were ducks, who did not appear to have any trouble finding food even this late in the fall.
We did not see the beavers, but we did see this lodge, which is bigger than the last time we visited the park.
My family on the boardwalk heading toward the wetlands overlook.
Most of the big trees had lost their leaves, but there was still some color on the smaller ones.
The cattails had gone to seed and were blowing fluff all around.
Daniel found a caterpillar on the boardwalk who accompanied us on Adam's hand for a while before being freed on a tree.
The Redskins and Ravens were both doing well against the Cowboys and Colts when we got into the car to drive home, but when we got there, they both managed to lose. Rather than suffer through any more football in the evening, we watched Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, which has instantly become one of my favorite movies -- if you want to see Amy Adams be fabulous in a film from last year, spare yourself Doubt and watch this! It stars Frances McDormand, who is also terrific, and Ciaran Hinds, who is always delightful, but I had no idea that Pushing Daisies' Lee Pace was in it (playing a Brit!) and Shirley Henderson, who plays Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies, has exactly the same annoying whiny little-girl voice.
Small spoilers: The movie is about an ex-governess desperate for work just before the outbreak of World War II who ends up in the employ of an ambitious actress-singer who sleeps around to get ahead (not that the film judges her badly for this -- it's sympathetic to women and their choices in general except when they stab one another in the back). The characters are caught up in the final golden days before they can stop denying that war is going to change everything, and there's a sense of recklessness excused, plus wonderful music ("Anything Goes," "If I Didn't Care") and a sleazy nightclub owner's art deco-embellished apartment...everything is crazy beautiful, and Adams, who is playing an only slightly more sophisticated version of her character from Enchanted, is electrifying. Her character persuades Miss Pettigrew to stick around by declaring love and kissing her, which would probably convince anyone to do anything, and she knows it.
It's not what I'd call a feminist movie -- the women are still hoping for salvation by (or at least with) a man -- but given the films I saw last week, it's still fairly progressive, and my whole family watched raptly through the delightful ending. Adams' character has to decide whether to stick with her shady nightclub owner lover who pays her to sing, the fickle wannabe theatrical producer who gave her a part after she gave him the best night of his life, or a poor piano player who knows exactly who she is and loves her for it; Miss Pettigrew accidentally charms Ciaran Hinds precisely by not being charming or in any way affected while he's thinking that everyone he knows is a phony or a sellout, including himself. It's all beautifully done and quite romantic and you can't take your eyes off Adams.