The month of May is a big deal in our house. It starts (obviously) with the best pun-turned-holiday of the year: May the 4th and moves through to Mother's Day on the 8th, my wife's birthday on the 13th and my son's birthday on the 14th; which, for those who don't know, is George Lucas' birthday as well. Go figure, right?
After these celebrations there is Motor City Comic Con across the Detroit River in Novi, Michigan and then a four-day Victoria Day weekend here in Canada. All of these events lead up to the arrival of my other passion–camping. The month of May often means either pulling our camper into the driveway to get it ready or a weekend camping trip and this year my daughter Shelby (middle name: Rae, yup that's right.) and I are heading out for a weekend trip to Pinery Provincial Park.
Of course I will be bringing a small amount of action figures with me (for photos, not playing–well, maybe playing) something I haven't really done much of since 1980 on a family camping trip near Parry Sound, Ontario when a kid decided it would be fun to stick a stormtrooper on a stick and pretend to burn him in a campfire. My brother and I rescued him but not before the trooper's leg was forever darkened by soot. I still have that poor trooper, actually.
As an avid camper and lover of the outdoors, my favourite Star Wars location is obviously the forest moon of Endor. Although Wookiees are my favourite species in Star Wars, Kasshyyyk is just a little too overwhelming with its giant Wroshyr trees hiding all sorts of nasty surprises in them.
I've also always been drawn to the moon of Endor because of an interesting passage from the novelization of Return of the Jedi: the scene where the Ewoks accept the Rebels into their tribe. It's a much longer scene in the book as Threepio delivers his tale to the Ewoks but they cannot be convinced to help the Rebels against the Empire. They don't quite understand what's in it for them. Princess Leia steps up after Luke fails to convince them:
Leia knew what Luke was trying to say, but she feared greatly that the Ewoks wouldn't see the connection. It was connected intimately, though, if she could only bridge the gap for them. She thought of her experience in the forest earlier – her sense of oneness with the trees, whose outstretched limbs seemed to touch the very stars; the stars, whose light filtered down like cascading magic. She felt the power of the magic within her, and it resonated around the hut, from being to being, flowing through her again, making her stronger, still; until she felt one with these Ewoks, nearly – felt as if she understood them, knew them; conspired with them, in the primary sense of the word: they breathed together. The debate wound down, leaving finally another quiet moment in the hut. Leia's respirations quieted, too, in resonance; and with an air of confident serenity, she made her appeal to the council. ‘Do it because of the trees,' she said. That's all she said. Everyone expected more, but there was no more; only this short, oblique outburst.”
Excerpt From: Return of the Jedi Book Adaptation by James Kahn
I love this passage. It reminds the reader of Yoda's speech to Luke on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back:
For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes.
Yoda and Leia are both speaking of the connection every living thing has with each other. It's a connection I feel when I'm camping. Mystical energy field or not, there is a connection. Charles Wilkins wrote in High On The Big Stone Heart:
No one knows where you are. In the deepest sense, you don’t know yourself. Or maybe you do. For in this rarified state, some tiny tich of understanding-something so deep within you don’t even acknowledge it-is silently reminding you that, for now at least, you are in exactly the place you ought to be.
Switch this with Leia's speech to the Ewoks and the message is the same. It's a universal thought. So in a month that is often associated with Star Wars I'm reminded that I may have been drawn to these movies by spaceships, lightsabers and blasters but ultimately, to the adult me, it reinforces that life, like the Force “surrounds us…and binds the galaxy together.”
May The Fourth Be With You and hey, go outside!
Remember: This is the podcast you’re looking for!
I welcome your feedback! My email is MikeM@coffeewithkenobi.com. You can find me on Twitter @MikeTarkin and also at my website, MikeTarkin.com –“Star Wars In My Corner of the Galaxy.”Powered by Sidelines