I mentioned the idea of this post to a friend of mine, and she correctly concluded, “You are way too into Mary Poppins.”
Yes, I know.
But maybe this is my thing. Some scholars study the I Ching all their lives; others War and Peace. Maybe I will become the renowned interpreter of Mary Poppins. Maybe this is my destiny. (And maybe I need to stop watching Lost and Battlestar Galactica so much, two shows flooding with destiny-driven plots. They are making every scribble while talking on the phone seem weighted with meaning it does not have…)
Whatever the point-lessness of it, I did notice a few – shall we call them clues? – to a hidden eastern- influenced philosophical bent undergirding this movie:
1) At the end of the ‘fantasy’ scene, wherein MP takes Bert and the children into a sidewalk chalk drawing to dance with cartoon animals and ride carousel horses through various romps, it begins to rain – so the troupe has to zip back to ‘real life’ before the chalk completely dissipates in the rain.
They do so, and MP says, seeing the art has all been washed away, “Oh Bert! All your fine drawings!”
Bert says, “No matter. There’s more where they came from,” pointing at his head.
Bert takes his foot and smudges the runny drawings, and the yellow and red colors caused me to think of those Buddhist sand paintings that take such painstaking amounts of time, only to then be blown and swept – destroyed – upon completion. Bert’s attitude of acceptance models an acknowledgment of the temporal and transient nature of things, a lack of ego and clinging, very like what Buddhists aspire to.
2) The first time the children look up the chimney, Jane says, “It’s so dark and gloomy up there.” But Bert offers a poetic paen to the chimney sweep’s world that is half-light, half-dark, shadowy, that sounds very like a Taoist description of yin and yang nature of reality.
3) MP carries an umbrella not unlike the Dalai Lama’s in a photo I have of him.
4) The whole ‘spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down’ idea echoes the story in which Lao-Tse drinks vinegar and finds it sweet – because, as father of Taoism, he finds the world sweet.
Ok, I had more, but it’s gone.
I’m sure I’ll see it when I watch… again…