This is what happens when you travel the world with a question: you find teachings in all kinds of unexpected places. There’s a spoiler in here, if you haven’t seen the movie.
Last night my family all enjoyed a night in Vancouver, dinner and a movie. We went to see Bridge to Terabithia, which is a pretty good film about two pre-teen outcasts, Jess and Leslie, who find meaning in each other’s imagination. Together they ease each other into opening minds and hearts to create a fantasy world, and it’s neve clear whether or not the world is becoming real as the movie unfolds. Towards the end of the film Leslie dies – a strange enough occurrance in a children’s movie – and Jess is left alone with the fantasy world he created with his friend.
It’s a strong film with many themes, but as I’ve been carrying around the questions of what it means to harvest in the world, I found it interesting that the movie resonated for me on that level.
One way to think about harvesting is to see it as putting imaginations to use to create meaning in one world so that another world may come into being. In social change efforts, harvesting is most powerful not when it simply documents the shift from one state to another, but when the harvest itself becomes the catalyst for the coming into being of the new world.
In Bridge to Terabithia, Leslie is a storyteller whose words can invoke physical realities. Jess is a talented visual artist who draws the worlds he sees. Together they create their new world, tentatively at first, but later with so much energy that they inhabit it with wild abandon. In the end, after Leslie dies, Jess shares this world with his little sister, who is introduced to the world by crossing a bridge that Jess has built over the creek in which Leslie has died. When they reach the other side, Jess’s sister utters “Terabithia!” and her ability to see and live in the world begins immediately. Her own profound imaginary engagement with Terabithia is a testament to the power of what Jess and Leslie harvested from their creation and experience of the world. It ‘s fascinating to look at the film from this angle, at how the power of Leslie’s imagination, and Jess’s harvest of it literally creates a bridge for Jess’s sister to cross so that she may be fully invited into Terabithia.
I’m quite interested how a multimedia, multimodal harvest of meaning from an experience can facilitate and sustain new levels of consciousness and awareness. In this film, the continuation of the world requires a harvest that envelopes Jess’s sister so that she immediately opens to the power of her own imagination. It’s what every good meeting should be about.