Thursday, January 22, 2009

To Live With Passion

Not everyone does, you know. Very few, as a matter of fact. They deserve an extra nod of the head, even beyond whatever nods have already come their way. Here are four:
Steve Irwin put himself in danger every day. He got happier as the going got tougher. "She's a real beauty," he'd whisper, speaking of a thousand-pound crocodile that was twisting around on a small stick, trying to kill him. "Kinda cranky today," he'd comment about a spitting ten-foot-long snake, and then he'd walk into its cave again and poke something at it. Or he'd come up from behind and try to grab it, causing the thing to strike three feet up in the air and barely miss him. You sort of shook your head most of the time you were watching Irwin.

Nature filled him up. It completed him. He really should have been one of the creatures. I wonder if he slept in that scout uniform he always wore. He loved animals not everyone would love. We all like the cute polar bear with its cubs and the sleek beautiful tiger and even plain old Rover and Fido. But Irwin loved the scalier varieties of Mother Nature, the fanged ones, the ones with very few warm and fuzzy attributes. I remember seeing him dive AT NIGHT from a flimsy canoe into brown water in search of some croc in distress. He was always moving one massive reptile from site A to site B for its own good.

Don't even think of comparing Irwin to Marlon Perkins from the old Wild Kingdom series. Marlon, who palmed off the hard stuff on his assistant Jim, was a pansy compared to Steve.

"While Jim wrestles with the vicious anaconda, I can't seem to find my contact lens."

I saw Irwin once holding onto the four legs/paws of a giant snapping turtle. It required all of his strength and he was panting as he exposed the underbelly to his wife, who was assigned some unenviable task. It could have been cutting the thing's nails; I don't remember now. But Irwin said to her, "Be really really careful." Good grief. If she were trying to do that, she never would have been with him. Good on ya, mate.

Vincent Van Gogh painted approximately 900 works in under ten years, the 300 most important in under three years. Arguably the most famous of these, Starry Night, was created while he was an inmate in a mental asylum. He was troubled. Emotional. Insecure. In his lifetime he only sold one painting. Imagine that. Any of us would think we were a failure, wouldn't we? Earlier in his life, he tried to be a preacher and was dismissed for "overzealousness." He was driven. He had the music in him. He died a suicide at 37.
Julia Child may seem an odd choice for this list, but I recently read her book, My Life in France, and found it a marvel. I feel bad now that she's dead and I never paid any attention to her TV show, which was also a marvel. Nothing was too much trouble, nothing was too much to ask in the name of la grande cuisine. JC would take the bones out of a chicken, stuff it full of truffles or some complicated concoction that took days to make, prop it up in the shape of a bird or a cathedral or a person, cover it with cheesecloth, enclose with pastry, push it through a sieve, pound it with a mallet, surround it with foie gras and miniscule strawberries in the shape of blueberries and let it sit in the oven for six hours while basting every fifteen minutes--all for a dinner party. I recently looked through one of her cookbooks and read her description of clarified butter. You thought butter was butter, didn't you, dear reader? HAH! Clarified butter is the best part, the superior rendering obtained when you melt it down and toss aside that white stuff. Being a rank peasant myself, I don't mind the white part. White part? Count me in. But I still admire my girl JC. It gives me a smile to think of her in my kitchen watching me prepare a meal. She'd have gone to her reward a lot sooner had she done that. Let's raise our chef hats to her, and they have to be high, since she was six feet two. A sante!!!!

I suppose Number 33 is a hometown "homey" choice, and Larry Bird is the only one of the four still alive. Plus I don't actually know if he still lives with passion, but he sure played with it. He dove for every ball, made every move count and treated every game like the championship game. It was thrilling to witness his career and none of us here in Boston will ever forget him. We have an old VCR tape of his life and early career and it is a Christmas Eve tradition at our house to watch it together. We are a bunch of sports saps at heart. Go, Larry! Yeah!

I have also known one or two other individuals who live with passion. I admire them greatly.

Trying to get inspired, dear reader. Trying my best.
A bientot


At 4:49 AM , Blogger Kay said...

I seem to have mislaid my passion somewhere along the line - however I do enjoy reading about the passion of others. I like how you got Murray the Conchord manager's 'Imagine that?' into your post! Love the humour Becky, as always!

At 7:58 AM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Thanks, Kay--you give me too much credit, though, on the Murray reference. I did watch the show last week and howled at him living in his car. hahaha, but wasn't really thinking of it here. Wish I was.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home