Jonathan Livingston Seagull arrived in my mailbox yesterday (from Amazon.com), and I spent this evening watching it and reliving a time in my life 25 years ago when I first heard the Neil Diamond soundtrack, then saw the movie on videocassette, and finally read the book by Richard Bach that inspired it all. The movie was first released in 1973. It won Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing, and received Golden Globe and Grammy Awards for its music score. I gained a new respect for Mr. Diamond’s ability as a musician and composer and bought several of his albums. Imagine it: a Neil Diamond fan in my 40s!
Tonight as I viewed the DVD in widescreen digital format, there was an unexpectedly poignant recall of the way my heart had swelled back then in response to the words and music as the gull soared in free flight. I’d had a passionate longing to express my thoughts and abilities to people who would accept and embrace them, to push myself to the limit to accomplish a goal worth attaining, and to love someone who wanted what I needed to give. For the most part, my adult life had been spent as a cog in the machine and a body that performed work. The poet, philosopher, and healer inside me were unappreciated and had no practical value for making a living.
“Be like a page that aches for a word on a theme that is timeless…” sang Neil Diamond. And I ached. I still do. “…Sing like a song in search of a voice that is silent, and the one God will make for your way.” I want to spread my arms out to the night sky and release the love, so that more can come in.
There are no people in this movie. Just seagulls, one eagle, pounding surf and ocean swells, rain and snow, and the voices of 3 well-known actors. It is a film best viewed alone, or in a group of very special like-minded people who are already on their spiritual journeys. No popcorn allowed–or needed.