Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Golden Years

I remember thinking when he was cast in Brokeback Mountain that Heath Ledger had Wyoming in his face: craggy brow, cavernous cheekbones, stiff tumbleweed hair, skin like the desert. I hear that's what parts of Australia are like, too. Before I found out Heath -- who was my age, which might partly explain why I'm so stricken, but also he seemed so intensely alive -- was dead this evening, I stopped at the library and picked up Secondhand Lions, MIB II, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and A Knight's Tale. (I love the soundtrack of the latter, a delicious mess of Queen, War's Low Rider, Eric Clapton, Thin Lizzy, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, among others.)

Generally when I'm using the stationary bike I turn the picture off, spinning twelve or fifteen imaginary miles to the tunes and dialogue of whatever I put in. Transversely, when I'm using the rowing machine I turn off the sound and just watch the picture. For some reason the sound and picture combined will make me cease pedaling or rowing to pay closer attention and it'll be ten minutes before I notice I've stopped.

A Knight's Tale is a lot ridiculous, but I love the banquet scene with Heath and Shannyn Sossamon slinking around to David Bowie's miraculous, twangy, funky "Golden Years." And tonight I left both picture and sound on so I could watch Heathcliff move about the screen, graceful, energetic but controlled (and, it struck me, oddly gnomish). And even though it's sad, I enjoyed the relative consolation (to me alone, perhaps) that he's captured on film, abundantly, in an early, shining time, his golden years.


Anonymous Larry said...

"Stricken" is a great way to describe our feelings here at 201 E. Main as well! Kate & I were so suprisingly-intensely upset by Heath's death!
Otherwise, I'm glad to have finally gotten in some good reading on your life! And I haven't forgotten that I'm quite overdue for a WY visit... I need to make it before you hit the road out of town!

January 24, 2008 at 8:24 PM  

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