into the woods, and back out again

Archive for May, 2012

at Thornfield Manor…

I watched the newest “Jane Eyre” last night.  The girl who played Alice in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” plays the part of Jane in this rendition, and a very good Jane she made.

In a way, it’s surprising that people keep making movies out of books like this.  How many versions of all the Jane Austen novels do we have?  And Jane Eyre is right up there too… IMDb lists 21 titles for Jane Eyre.  I would think it must be hard to come up with new ways to tell these old stories, but I guess this is why new versions keep being made: everyone has the way they think the story should be told.

As far as this offering goes, I enjoyed it, although I don’t know if I could have followed it if I hadn’t read the book umpteen times.  It’s a full two hours, and still crops huge chunks of the story out, since you really can’t tell the story in two hours.  Certainly you can’t tell the story in two hours if you want to linger over any details, which this film does.  There is time spent just watching Jane… which I found intriguing.  Since the story is told from her point of view, that’s what we get in the book–she rarely observes herself, so neither do we.  The film has scenes where she’s teaching Adele, or examining a painting in the hallway, or watching people out her bedroom window.

This time spent simply observing the characters is what this film is good at: it’s like a series of snapshots from the book which help you picture the story better.  With any of the Bronte books, I could never get a sense of the business of the household–my mind’s eye always pictures people alone and never with servants bustling around them.  I always found it difficult to get a sense of Rochester’s manners, but the actor who plays him this time does a good job of being abrupt and sarcastic, but also kind and funny– very much the gentleman, but definitely a gentleman who doesn’t conform to the rest of his society.

The film captures the atmosphere of the book very well.  When Jane is teaching Adele, I got the sense that Jane is content here, at this time, but that her heart yearns for more.  When she is tending Mason while Rochester fetches the doctor, the feeling of tension and fear is palpable.  On their wedding day, Rochester hauls Jane down to the church with exactly the right attitude–he’s so close to getting what he wants that his fear almost overcomes his happiness.

This rendition of Jane Eyre was really good at staying true to the spirit of the book… I just wish there had been more.  The only real problem with the film (besides the Rivers sisters being too thin and not getting enough screen time) is that it isn’t long enough.  It really should have been done as a mini-series.  I kept missing details, like St. John being in love with a girl from town, or the time Jane spends trying to get food after running away from Rochester, or when Bertha tears her wedding veil.  OR the fact that the Rivers are related to Jane–a detail which could have made it into this film, but didn’t.  Much of the visit from the Ingrams is left out and most of Jane’s time at Lowood school is missing.

I mean, really, I just need to go read the book now.




Rosamund: the finish

I’ve had this sweater, the Rosamund cardigan, knitted for a few weeks now.  I was apprehensive about the size, since I knit it with negative ease and it was a little… um, snug… before I blocked it out.  Yesterday would have been a good day to have this sweater to wear, though, so I wove in the ends, soaked it in the tub, then spread it out on my blocking boards.  This morning, I put it on, still damp, and am now basically blocking it on my body.  I had gambled that the wool would loosen up with water and I was (thankfully!) right.  It fits perfectly and all I have left is to figure out the hook & eye closures.

Of course, my bathroom is too dark to get a good sense of just how fabulous it is, but in the sunlight, it’s a lot more golden:

up a creek


Okay, seriously, just having a hard time coming up with a catchy opening paragraph.  Deception Creek is a trail we visited last Fall, but due to time constraints, we didn’t hike as far that day as we would have liked.  It was a beautiful trail, so we decided to go back today.  As it turns out, there is still a lot of snow in the mountains, and we made most of our progress by following a previous hiker’s half melted footprints.  Consequently, I didn’t take many pictures.  There’s a bridge over Deception Creek, which some time I would like to cross in dry weather:


Up until this point, the trail was pretty clear, even with the snow.  I had on my pedometer, which also measures distance, but I think it measures distance by multiplying my stride length by how many steps I take and I don’t think it factors clambering over snow, which involves short strides, long strides, and strides that end with breaking through the crust and ending up hip deep in snow.  So, I really don’t know how far we went, but when we lost our mystery hiker’s tracks and couldn’t find the trail, we decided to turn back.

We didn’t feel ready to quit hiking, though, so we headed back to the truck, then drove on down to the Iron Goat trail.  The main trail-head was closed, so we took a little back road to pick up the trail further down.  The Iron Goat trail is almost perfectly level, due to once being a railroad track, and the old tunnels are still there.

I had trouble getting a picture that gave a good sense of the scale, and then I had light issues, so this is what we have.  Just think: this tunnel is big enough for a train to get through.  It was huge and a little creepy.  There was also this:

I think that’s the supporting wall, which keeps the forest out of the tunnel.  Again, no sense of scale, but it was enormous.

We ate lunch, and then covered a couple of miles in a pretty short amount of time.  We saw more tunnels, and admired the view over the pass, and then we found backpacks lying on the trail.  Noticing a badge on one of the backpacks, we realized that they belonged to trail maintenance people.  Not much further on was… well… an avalanche across the trail, but we saw that someone had cut some very nice steps into the snow, so we decided to continue.  About a quarter of a mile later, we found a group of mostly older men just finishing up on some task.  Another avalanche blocked the trail, but they hadn’t done anything to cross this one.  We approached a little warily, not sure how thrilled they’d be that we crossed the snow pack to get so far, but they weren’t fussed.

“Tell you what,” one quipped, “you can cross this next one too, but do us a favor and tie a 50 foot string to your hat.  That way, when you fall into the snow, we’ll be able to find your body later on.”  We talked with them a bit about the work they were doing with the Volunteers of Washington, and then walked back with them.  One gentleman, in particular, turned out to be great fun.  We had a very nice chat, and then we left him when the others stopped to cut through a tree across the trail, being a little concerned that we were making him walk too fast.

All in all, we walked 6 or 7 miles, which isn’t too shabby!  We’ll go back to Deception Creek later this year when the snow melts and see if we can’t make a real hike out of it.