Bambi Under the Stars

I kept Bambi longer than I did the other films. I only own 17 of the Disney animated features; the rest I’ve been watching via Netflix. I usually try to time it so I have one for over the weekend and mail them quickly so I can get the next one. I’m not trying to rush—I just love watching them. I forgot to mail Bambi on Friday (okay, and Saturday) and now it’s in the box but not going out until Monday. Which means Chicken Little won’t arrive until Wednesday.
            I loved Bambi much more than I expected. I think it has something to do with the all-animal cast (only Lion King and Robin Hood can boast this as well) and also the simple beauty of the film. From the backgrounds to the animals with human emotions, it’s just a beautiful film. While watching even more of the bonus features (I know, my downfall) my theory was proven right: there actually are a lot of Lion King allusions (I say LK because I’m more familiar with it; even though Bambi came first in the linear time line, LK  came first in my life). From the reflections I so admired to literally the same seeds floating through the air (in Bambi it signifies a passage of time; in Lion King in reveals Simba’s not-dead-ness to Rafiki). How could I not love the film that inspired my favorite Disney film of all time?
            Tonight I had a Mufasa moment. Tomorrow is my 24th birthday and so far it hasn’t been going like I expected. I’ve never been away from my family before. Now, my family is my husband and our dogs. But it’s still weird to be away from my parents and sister. I received my sister’s gift today, but because my birthday falls on a Sunday and we live so far out the USPS doesn’t deliver to our door (rain, snow, sleet my toosh!), I won’t even receive their gift until Monday (yes, I know my mother gave me the gift of life and that is most important. Thank you.). Anyway, I was walking my dogs on this chilly October night (yes, 39 degrees F is now chilly) and began looking at the stars. The benefit of living so far out the USPS won’t deliver to you is that there’s significantly less light pollution than in town. I took a deep breath and it returned in near-transparent white clouds of moisture while my dogs took their sweet time relieving themselves. I stared up into the sky, which appeared rounded by the increase of stars the higher I looked. I saw balls of gas, burning from billions of miles away. There’s a particularly tall Spruce tree that lives in the hilly field where we (used to) walk our dogs (I don’t go further than the little cone of light created by our little outdoor light. This is Alaska—it’s beyond dark. And you never know when an animal will walk out of your dog-walking field).
            For a short moment, my mind was clear of all the weird jumble of thoughts that usually live there. There was a beautiful moment where there weren’t any cars on the semi-busy road that runs parallel to ours; no headlights permeated that deep abyss of stars and space. No obnoxious dogs I pity were barking upstairs or in the neighboring garage. It was this beautiful silence, with the silhouette of that spruce tree standing as a shadow against a black backdrop dotted with stars. I couldn’t help but think, this is where the animators who went to Africa got their inspiration for that Mufasa scene. They saw all the stars and felt this incredible silence. They saw a tree’s outline solely by the lack of stars.
            A moment later, a car rounded the bend and the dogs nearly pulled my arm out of its socket and I was brought back to the present. Walt called his features ‘cartoons’ for the longest time; they’ve never been that to me. Cartoons make me think of the Silly Symphonies or something DreamWorks created (sorry—no offense intended). But animation—for me, it’s always been this glimpse into a magical world. I’ve found living in Alaska, after the other three states I’ve lived in, to be a bit like that. Every time I see a moose, or a bear (okay, it was only that once in Denali National Park. But still), I feel like I’m glimpsing this special, magical world. I think that is Walt’s birthday gift to me. A moment of silence amongst the universe, when I realize just how special this place is—and how special I am, simply for existing in it.
            This is what Bambi and aging are doing to me. Introspective and philosophical. Oh boy.

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