Why “above the roofs” anyway?

When I decided to start blogging again, I had to think of a name for the blog. Names and titles do matter. It might not matter what the particular name is for the flower I call a rose, but once named, that name carries with it associations and meaning. So what’s in a name? Sometimes everything.

Something I constantly remind people to do here in New York is to look up.  I don’t mean in the optimistic sense, but actually just to look up once in a while because there is a lot of amazing stuff up there. What reminded me to write about the naming of the blog was seeing the original teaser today for Wall-E. There is a moment when the little robot looks skyward with those amazingly expressive eyes of his. It’s that thing right there that killed me the first time I saw that trailer, and I remember crying a little bit. Just that simple little moment of loneliness and hope and endless possibility…wow, Pixar, wow.

I stayed home sick today from work and did a little bit of what some folks refer to as “surfing” on the internet. (If you don’t know me, I tend to be a little silly, and sometimes that comes out as as archness or stiffness in my writing. This paragraph’s beginning is me having a ball. Yeah, I know…) I clicked and read and clicked and read and had a grand time filling my aching head with good things. (I try not to waste my time badly. I like wasting my time in positive ways.) At one point I was reading some Roger Ebert reviews (I like the humanity he displays in his writing, and he’s funny in a dorky way) and then went to Jim Emerson’s blog. I learned he’s grieving the death of an animal very dear to him from an entry he posted about why scenes in certain movies are lately quite intense for him. It’s clear Jim’s really quite sad about his pet’s death (I like Emerson’s humanity too). He brings up Wall-E’s close-call with a landing spaceship, and in one of the comments on his piece someone mentioned The Crying Girl.

Well, that brought me to Courtney Mault and her touching story about a visit to Pixar. You have to read it to believe it.

And this is why I love the internet sometimes. I don’t watch TV and so the web is where my info comes from. And the way it allows us to find each other sometimes astounds me. Reading Courtney’s Wall-E story made me watch that original teaser again, and yes, I cried at the same place I did the first time I saw it. He looks up. The clouds part. And the heavens dance above him.

He looks up.

I borrowed the name for my blog from Vincent van Gogh. On 31 May 1876 in a letter to his brother Theo, Vincent wrote the following:

That same night I looked out of the window of my room at the roofs of the houses you can see from there, and at the tops of the elms, dark against the night sky. Above the roofs, a single star, but a beautiful, big, friendly one.

The quote is to the right there in the sidebar in fine print, but just in case I someday put something else in its place, I wanted those words to appear in the blog. This idea of looking up is just about being present, about being willing to take things in. I sort of did that today by bouncing around the web. And seeing Wall-E in that scene brought it all full circle.

It’s easy to forget to look up. It’s so damn easy to go about your business and get to where you’re going and then only rest once you are there. But the journey is yours too, and the things you pass along the way are sometimes the best reason for taking that very first step on your trip. I need to remind myself to look up too. It’s natural to forget. We get busy and distracted and sad and lazy and excited…and then we just happen to look up and see something we’ve never seen before, and that (I hope) encourages us to do that again, to just stop right there and look up, to look around. It’s why I sometimes take a longer less direct path home when I come out of the subway. It’s why I sometimes walk the bridges when I have the time to get where I am headed. There’s just a lot of cool stuff to look at and I don’t want to miss any of it.

“Above the roofs” means a lot of things to me. One thing very specific is that it reminds me of water towers. I am rather mad about them. My best pal gave me my xmas gift yesterday (she won’t be here for the holiday and likes to see me happy) and I am so happy about the gift that I am wearing it now. It’s a scarf from Brooklyn Industries. They use a water tower silhouette as their logo, and the water tower appears at the ends of the scarf. Here’s a picture so you can see what lovely thing hangs around my neck as I write.

my scarf!

my scarf!

I’ll have to write about water towers another time. Right now I should go. Thanks for stopping by.

Here’s to what you find above the roofs.

Oh, here’s something fun to watch. Wall-E and a vacuum cleaner. Hilarious.

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1 Comment

Filed under journal, movies

One response to “Why “above the roofs” anyway?

  1. Thank you for the mention on your blog! When Wall•E looks up at the stars — I think that’s when everyone just loses it! That coupled with when he says his name…

    Hope you’re feeling better!

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