When you buy a diamond, the jeweler examines it for flaws. The fewer flaws it has, the higher the price. It has a greater value. I think our society has fallen into this trap except we apply the microscope to people. If they have the smallest flaw, they are dismissed. We all know the power of photoshop. I fall into this trap and don’t want to post any photo of myself unless I remove the eye wrinkles and whiten my teeth. Heaven forbid if I had some real rather than perceived flaw. If we are are privileged enough to live to old age, we will have wrinkles, scars, skin folds etc. Only those who die young, die without evidence of living.
I love the Winston Graham novels about Ross Poldark. And in book four The Black Moon, his wife is embarrassed about her scarred knees. In the modern world the husband would be giving her the name of a good plastic surgeon so she could ‘fix’ the scars. But Ross says one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read, “Blemishes on the beauty of a person one loves are like grace notes adding something to a piece of music.”
I can add nothing more profound or loving to that statement.
When I went through my preteen and teenage years, I found it utterly ridiculous that girls had mad crushes on actors and singers. Buying TeenBeat Magazine, putting posters on their walls all seemed a waste of time. I didn’t scream at concerts or get butterflies if I thought I’d see someone famous. Did I miss something? I think I did. The idea of dreaming and longing and believing in something wonderful like love with a music star, no matter how unlikely it was, brought joy and excitement to many girls’ lives. I spent too much of my time just worrying about fitting in. I find it so interesting that now, of all times in my life, I have a mad teenage crush on a book character/actor. Of course I realize he is fictional and the actor is too young and famous, to ever be a reality, but it’s enabled be to dream a little and believe a little that there is the possibility of love again.
Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark on Masterpiece Theater/BBC
“We have to live our own lives. We have to give freedom to those we love.” Ross Poldark in Angry Tide by Winston Graham
Ross makes this comment as he and his wife leave their children behind as they head to London. Demelza is sad upon leaving the children at home and Ross reminds her that before she knows it the children will be leaving her.
As a parent we all must face the moment when we know our children are adults and independent. It’s bittersweet because you want them to grow up, live their lives and be happy but you will forever miss your babies. I think that is one reason as a parent it is sometimes difficult to step back when they are adults and let them find their way. In our eyes they are still our babies. As a mother there is always this overwhelming desire you fight to keep them children.
I always knew my children would grow up and go out on their own, making their way in the world. What I never thought about was the first statement Ross makes. We have to live our own lives. I forgot in those years as a mother and wife I needed to make a life of my own separate from them. It is even more true now that I am divorced. I never thought about being anyone other than a wife and mother. It is much more challenging than I anticipated to find my own way in the world. I feel like the one who has had adulthood thrust upon her unexpectedly.
I know my passion but the question is can I make a living? Can I support myself? Do I have the discipline needed to focus and make it work? That is yet to be determined
Have you ever read a book that is timeless? I believe Poldark is just that.A book written in the 1940s about life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Cornwall, England. The struggles faced then are as relevant as the ones we face today. Ross Poldark is a soldier just returning home from a war which was lost. He learns not only has the love of his life, Elizabeth agreed to marry his wealthy cousin Francis but his father is dead and his small estate in ruin.
Heartbroken Ross pours himself into his farm and reopening the mine on his land. Unlike his cousin Francis and his wife Elizabeth, Ross was never separated apart from the people on his father’s land. He grew up with the sons of the miners. They were his friends despite the huge difference in their social status. Ross’s experience in the war has given him a clearer perspective on life and the injustices he sees everyday in Cornwall and England.
Miners are forced to poach game to keep their families from starving while the gentry live a life of luxury which is paid for on the backs of the workers, the miners. Justice is only justice if it serves the gentry well because while they say all are equal before the law, that is not how it is actually carried out.
Ross finds himself torn between what he knows in his heart is right and what the people of his class tell him is right. It is the unexpected love and faith he finds in a young girl, a miner’s daughter, that helps Ross find his way.
He stumbles. He fails. He succeeds. He’s torn between love for two women. He carries on doing his best.
Aren’t these the same challenges we face today? The divide between the rich and poor growing. The idea that some are born to succeed and others to fail. Aren’t we struggling to find true justice in our court systems? Not justice for some but justice for all? Aren’t we fighting for education, jobs and the disenfranchised? Aren’t we working to save the men and women who return from war some broken and scarred changed forever? For soldiers who can’t find employment and face poverty? Aren’t we seeking our voice and our right to be heard even if we are poor or a minority or just the plain forgotten?
When Winston Graham published Poldark, World War II had just ended. His country was facing the very same challenges Ross faced when he returned from fighting the American War of Independence. The only difference is Britain won WWII and lost the AmericanRevolution but the returning soldiers faced the same fights as Ross did 150 years earlier. And now in the 21st century we are facing our biggest battle, the fight of ideology. Will we win this world war of terrorism imposed by the few on the many?
This is absolutely my favorite book series and I hope you find the time to read not just Poldark but all twelve books.