September 22, 2010

Happily ever after

Over the river and through the woods...
Somewhere, over the rainbow....
The grass is always greener on the other side...
Happily ever after...

There are lots of sayings, songs and poems describing places we dream about.  Places we think we can go that will be better than where we are right now.  What is it we're looking for? 
Perfection?  No, I don't think so.  As imperfect as we are, we can't even fathom what perfection might be.  But we know we're not happy with our present circumstances and it's easier to dream or imagine than to fix the problems that plague our lives.  The reason it's easier is because we might have to change!  Or give up something!!!    Ahhhhhhhhh!  But we have all these plans laid out before us.  A map of just how we want our life to go, step by step, year by year.  But you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.  Enter a woman.
From the very beginning of creation, man has had the need of a helper, a woman to protect, a lover to care for, someone to fellowship with and be nurtured by.  Another person to come alongside them and help them carry the load.  Not beneath them, but beside them.  Anyway....
Fantasy stories are some of my favorites.  Stories about lands beyond my grasp that sound like they would have been wonderful places to live even though they were fraught with danger.  But I think in all the stories that attract me it's not just the lands but the people who make it feel like it's a better place than where I live. 
There are the Colonial, Victorian and Regency eras and all the beautiful tales of love and romance that are set, seemingly so appropriately, in these interesting periods of our past.  I guess I'm drawn to them partially because I love the clothing and the architecture.  But again, if I look closer, I think some of that attraction comes from the lovely mannerisms and language of the time.  That brings us back to the people again.
But, perhaps the most favored genre of all is the fairytale, most often set in the days of knights and ladies, the reawakening period of the Renaissance. Now admittedly, this type of story generally involves plenty of wonderful clothes regardless of the social status of the folks written about.  And equally interesting architecture ranging from quaint cottages to great castles.  But the most intriguing parts are the woodlands.  So much takes place in the shady glades and the mossy glens, the craggy mountains and the green forests.  Think Mirkwood and you'll know just what I mean.  Not a safe place at all but still quite desirable, especially on the elven side of the forest.  But I digress from my purpose.
Fairy tales nearly always have to do with good triumphing over evil and more often than not, love.  It could be said that fairy tales can take place within any of the other genres or settings that I've mentioned, in any period of time.  It would also be true that the part of the story that I love the best is the conquest.  We don't often read about much what happens after the marriage, the story is all about the beginning, however long that actually takes. 
I've written before about being a hopeless's true.  The thing that I had originally set out to write about is the hopelessly romantic outlook through which I view a story...any story. I'm always hopeful for a happily ever after.  Is that wrong?  Is it just too naive to think that's possible anymore?  I don't think so. But I do think that fairy tales are really things that happen to you  and you're in them before you know you've even begun.  At that point, the important part becomes what you do once you've discovered it.
My all time most favorite believable fairy tale is that of Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennett.  Most folks would probably say that it isn't a fairy tale at all but I think it is.  What are the chances that Mr. Bingley would look at a home in the area of Meryton; it was quite inconveniently located in the country far from the busy life available in London.  About the only thing it seemed to offer was a bit of sport.  Also, what could predict that he would bring his closest friend along who seemed to despise the location from the start because of the course neighbors whom he could hardly abide.  What brought Elizabeth to visit her cousin in Hunsford at the same time that Darcy and Fitzwilliam came to visit their aunt who lived on the adjoining estate.  After their separation, what brought Darcy home to Pemberly a day early only to find Elizabeth viewing the grounds?  Now if that isn't a set of amazing coincidences, I don't know what is!  And really, that's what makes it a fairy tale.  Circumstances that seem almost magical in the way they come about.  Unforeseen and clearly unexpected, you find yourself plopped into the middle of a "tale as old as time."  What could be more romantic than that?  So, now, what will you do about it? 
I guess the part after the wedding just falls into place as the love they have carries them through the times ahead.  Admittedly, it's hard to imagine the happily ever after not having a few bumps in the road.  But that's where the story changes from one of gaining the trust of the one you love to proving that trust over and over again through all the pits and downfalls that come up.  You know, 'cuz it really is happily ever after and it feels like somewhere over the rainbow.

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