I enjoyed the movie Field of Dreams and even liked the ending as long as I didn’t let myself wonder how the magic had already reached out to all those folks, bringing them to the field. Unless they were all local (and we know they weren’t since the locals thought he was loco), some of them would have had to start traveling almost as soon as the field was completed. But this is a movie about magic, not logic.
Apparently, the magic reached out beyond the screen because the field became a tourist destination. I always found that ironic. Didn’t people realize it was just a movie, and that the magic was only movie magic? I felt disconnected from these folk, unable to understand the draw, until I was driving along a highway and noticed one of those blue signs that listed local attractions. And there it was, in Dyersville, Iowa: Field of Dreams.
I’d chanced upon other movie locations in earlier travels: the Bagdad cafe, Tom Hanks’s house in Sleepless in Seattle, the fabulous wrought-iron building in Wolf, an iconic route 66 motel that has appeared in dozens of movies, the town where True Grit was filmed, the La Brea tar pits, and several others I don’t remember at the moment. In this spirit, I turned off the highway and made the three-mile trek to the Field of Dreams.
As I drove to the site, I had to laugh at the foolishness of my becoming another pilgrim to the location, but when I arrived, the feeling of being foolish disappeared. It really is special being able to see in real life something you have seen in a movie. Beyond that, it was fun seeing the field itself, so incongruous — a ballpark in the middle of an agrarian area. And it touched me, that magic of dreams.
I don’t know what my maybe would be; don’t even know what to dream about or hope for, and yet as I stood gazing at that field, I sensed possibilities as yet unrealized.
Such is the magic that reached out to us from the movie. And such is the magic that draws even a cynic such as I to the Field of Dreams.
“If you build it, they will come.”
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)