The pond was frozen in Noonan’s park. It was the best place for skating (or the closest to our school). We all walked over, single file for a moment, until our teacher turned her head around to watch the road. It was exciting, this release from the normal school day. Mittens dangled from pockets. Jackets unzipped. We were too free to feel the cold.
I can’t say that any of us were good skaters. I can’t say that any of us cared. We played on the ice. Pushing. Pulling. Gliding. Then eventually, it always ended in “Crack the whip.” I was at the end, and indeed the whip was cracked – I was flung, and landed on my wrist. Broken. Everyone kept playing. Our teacher knew she had to stay – there were 30 other kids to think about. I don’t remember if she volunteered or if she was asked, but selfless either way, Melissa Fristedt agreed to walk back to Washington Elementary with me to see the school nurse.
We weren’t friends really. It seemed as though we had just met, maybe playing the clarinets for the first time together in the gymnasium. She was tall and kind. I could walk completely fine on my own, but she held my opposite elbow as we walked the sidewalks slowly, that now felt so cold. I was happy it was her — that she was there. It seemed she was born to do this — the lifting.
Last night we went to young Margaux’s dance recital. Some glided along, as if on ice, others pushed, pulled and played. All of it beautiful. It’s easy to spot the ones that were born to dance. It seems as though the music flows from their every muscle. There was one girl, just a little larger than the rest, that was called on to do the lifting. And she did! She smiled so gracefully as she held the girls up, pointing them to the spotlight. How beautiful. As beautiful as those that posed to the sky.
I suppose we are all in this ballet of untimely movement. Fumbling towards grace. Some days lifted, other days we will be asked to do the lifting. I hope we can all see the beauty in both.