Last night I went to see Harry Potter and found the movie to be completely boring. I had read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince when it came out in 2006, so I had some idea of the story. A couple of friends who came with me to the theater had never read the book, found themselves clueless, and left half-way through (perhaps that’s where the Half comes in).
Even though I knew the general story line, I found the progression of the scenes to be tedious. I guess I expect a movie to actually have a story that takes the viewer through from beginning to end, and not just a collection of scenes that are a trip down memory lane.
Even with knowing the general story, I found it hard to figure out why one scene followed another. Gone was the richness of plot found in the original book. Gone were some of the interesting characters. Gone was a sense of action and vitality.
But since this is a blog about reconnecting with nature, I started to think about the parallel between this film and watching nature. For some, watching nature can be excruciatingly boring. For others, it can be very exciting. Same thing with the Potter film.
So why is watching nature really exciting for me, while watching Potter was extremely boring?
My answer is simple. In my opinion, movies are supposed to have a story. I don’t go to movies to watch a bunch of unconnected scenes that flash across the screen. I expect to have an organized plot, with a beginning, a middle, and an end that resolves the problem or situation posed at the beginning.
Watching nature is completely different. There is no plot that we can see. There may be a beginning, a middle, and an end, but we don’t know what it is. There may be a plot, but again we have no idea what it is.
Animal and plant lives are shrouded in mystery. Same for the weather. Same for the earth. We can describe animal and plant species and identify them by name, and we can describe ecological, geological, and climatological processes, but that doesn’t always give us a complete picture of what is happening around us as we sit and watch nature at work.
I know nothing about the bee that comes to collect pollen from a flower. Yes, I can often tell you the scientific name of the bee and the scientific name of the flower, but I know nothing about the rest of their lives. Where does this bee live? What does the bee do all day? What challenges does the plant with the flower face from other species of plants? These are all mysteries.
And so I can watch nature in the “Now” moment, observing what is going on without any expectations. Being in the “Now” moment allows me to be at peace with my surroundings, and witness without criticizing what I am seeing.
On the other hand, when I go to a Harry Potter film, I expect to be entertained by a plot, and I criticize when I am not. I still consider myself a Harry Potter fan, so I’m going to look forward to the next film after this one, but in the meanwhile I find watching nature much more interesting and engaging.