Wednesday, April 08, 2009
The Red Knight
Remember Robin Williams in The Fisher King?
"Robin Williams portrays Parry, a former professor of medieval history, who lives in a remarkable world of his own creation in order to insulate himself from a tragedy in his past. "
William's character survives a tragedy so horrible that in order to survive, his mind has created a construct of unreal proportions that help him to not bring the actual event back into his conscious mind. When events occur that begin to bring him in touch with that tragedy; he becomes haunted and terrified by the vision of the "Red Knight" which is really the embodiment of his character's pain. The movie shows this horrible beast galloping towards him, nostrils flared, dust billowing. Terrifying.
It amazes me how the mind and body co-conspire to protect one another and enable survival. When something is unbearable, our minds and bodies communicate in their own language, and come up with a way to help each other out.
I have a Red Knight.
It roars up behind me;and I feel its hot breath on me. My body instinctively tightens into its flight or fight response.
Behind the thunder of those mighty hooves are pictures of other things; the hot breath of something else. Equally intimidating. At least as frightening.
And as my mind re-routes to it's favoured coping mechanisms, I am dimly aware of its processes. The hooves thundering in my ears, and dust rising to my own flared nostrils, it becomes painfully difficult to become still enough to simply be aware. To trust that the Knight will thunder by without shattering me in its pathway. To risk that whatever follows this manifestation of horrer will not be bigger and more ravaging than the Knight himself.
The Knight himself is here to protect me from what lays beyond.
So we duck into doorways, we three. My body, my mind, and some other third part that watches from above. For moments at a time we can see the pictures clearly. Then the Knight scares the ever living heck out of us, and we split off into our roles once again.