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Stories and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems, written by a beginning farmer/gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Soup, The Secret of Roan Inish and The Secret Garden

Last night, my best friend Alexys and I made soup with organic carrots, onion, Russian kale, celery, potatoes, garlic, vegetable broth and all purpose seasoning. It was delicious!



This morning, after returning from a walk to the bagel shop and reading "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner with my entire family, we watched The Secret of Roan Inish, one of my favorite movies of all time. I recently purchased it for $10 from our local Hollywood Video store that is going out of business. We had leftover soup during the movie, which was the perfect thing to be eating during the movie because of the homemade, countryside, old Irish lifestyle and feel of the movie.If you're never seen it, it's about a young Irish girl named Fiona who goes to live with her grandparents in the countryside three years after her entire family was forced to flee from their home of Roan Inish, or island of the seals. It's a tale of mysterious "Irish and Orcadian folklores of selkies" and the story centers around Fiona looking for her younger brother Jamie, who was lost the day they left Roan Inish. The setting is so beautiful and green and it's how I always picture Ireland in my mind, since I watched the movie for the first time when I was young. I definitely recommend watching it if you ever get the chance. It's a classic that never gets old, in my opinion. It makes me want to visit Ireland, and it makes me feel proud that I have Irish blood running through me. Another movie that I was reminded of while watching Roan Inish this morning is The Secret Garden (spoiler alert for that weblink's synopsis). That's another of my favorite movies--the kind I show to my close friends because it's so wonderful. Both movies have absolutely gorgeous videography and nature settings, and both have young girls as the main protagonist. The girls are similar in that their parents aren't in the picture (Mary's are dead; Fiona's mother is dead and her father lives in a city far from the countryside) and they're living with people other than their parents in a new place (although in Roan Inish, Fiona was raised on the island, so there is a sense of home for her there). Mary in The Secret Garden has a clear objective regarding the secret garden. Fiona has a clear objective in finding her brother and learning more about the ancient legends and stories of her people.

In each movie, there's a young boy close in age to the girls who helps them in reaching their objective. Dicken teaches Mary about the garden; Eamon helps Fiona throughout the story, keeping secrets for her and assisting her in various ways. There are mysterious dark-haired men who aren't in many scenes, but whose role is vital to the story (actually, both characters are played by the same actor, John Lynch)--Lord Craven in The Secret Garden and Tadhg in Roan Inish. Both movies have the word "secret" in their title. Both are based on novels. Roan Inish is based on The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry by Rosalie K. Fry, and The Secret Garden is based on a novel of the same title by Frances Hodgson Burnett. There are other similarities, but to say more might give away too much about the movies.Both are incredibly well-done movies that I love watching. They have a certain tone of times-past...one that makes me resentful toward this computer screen I'm watching and even the television on which I watch the movies. Eating homemade soup made a connection for me to those settings and to the earthiness of Ireland, the primordial, ancient lure that the green, green hillsides and crumbling walls have, especially, I suppose, on people with some Irish in them.
Alexys and I watching The Secret of Roan Inish this morning

Now I must relax on the couch with my tattered War and Peace (which I am more than half-way through after a year--hurrah!). After all, it is a three-day weekend and it's only 2:45 PM on Saturday.

Green Gal

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"Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done."
-- Benjamin E. Mays

3 comments:

  1. That was a good movie! I loved the way they talk

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  2. I love how you remembered this movie from when you were little. I rented it when you were small and we watched it together. Now, many years later, it practically jumped into your hands as we wandered the aisles at the video store. It was as if Fiona wanted you to free her from the confinement of the DVD box, to allow her to breathe the Irish sea air again.

    After all, watching a movie or reading a book does just that: our eyes on a screen or running over words bring fictional characters to life. We create worlds by turning our attention to these works of art. We make real the author's and film maker's creation.

    As we watched the movie, I realized just how much I'd forgotten about what happens. I didn't even remember the end, which is a great thing about getting a little older. Stories I've heard before can still have surprise endings.

    And speaking of growing older, one element of the movie I found interesting is that the grandparents seemed much younger to me than they did when we first watched the movie years ago.

    A few scenes in the movie are so touching that a wee tear or two crept into my eyes a few times.

    I wonder if today in Ireland such places as Roan Inish still exist, if some people can still live in and around such places.

    Shifting to the story we read today by Faulkner, it reminded me how my dad occasionally gathered us together to read poetry and stories on a weekend. We didn't do this a lot, but the times we did are vivid in my memory. It was wonderful to be together as a family, with no television, reading poems by American authors such as Longfellow and Poe.

    What a gift my father gave us, especially when one considers that he did not come from a college-educated family. His father worked mostly blue collar jobs and had no formal education beyond high school.

    So today as we passed around the story and took turns reading aloud, I thought about my dad. I thought he might be smiling.

    In fact, I'm sure as I type this on this peaceful Saturday afternoon, he still is.

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  3. I LOVE the Secret Garden, recently found it for $6 in the bargain bin of our local grocery store! Bonus!! Have to add The Secret of Roan Inish to my Netflix list!!

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