It’s the flow of it all that’s so magical.  I’m in awe of the leans, the little jumps, the tentative spins.  Tonight was the Carnival presented by the young people of the Belmont Skating Club, and I got to be there.

Parents, grandparents, friends and the rest of us seemed to cheer every little glimpse of excellence in the routines of the four-year-old and the fourteen-year-old.  There were tumbles.  There were ending flourishes held high before the applause.  It was just plain lovely.

I watched “Jenny”, a twelve-year-old girl in the class where I volunteer.  She swooped and swirled on the ice, bending her body every whichway as she moved to the music.  There was grace and power and dancing hands.  A few minutes later, Jenny was back out there as a “program assistant” , encouraging the tiny ones dressed in green.  For me, her cheering was just as special as the flow of her solo work.  Create beauty and then assist others to do the same.

I love several of the solo skaters.  I know them.  And after tonight I also know them in a new way … expressing their passion, telling stories with their legs, their arms and their smiles.  I was so proud of my young friends.

A visiting troupe of synchronized skaters graced the ice as well.  These twelve- to sixteen-year-olds formed three trios and  pushed forwards and backwards together like the Snowbirds precision pilots in air shows.  The movements backward especially took my breath away.  Those were such symbols of transcendence.

I applauded eleven soloists and several group acts, which were mostly young kids.  The individual skaters were all girls.  I enjoyed their artistry immensely.  At the same time, I missed the presence of boys.  I know they’re off playing hockey but I dream of the time when they also explore the melody of dance.

“Marcy” is a student I volunteered with two years ago.  She performed to the music of “Always Remember Us This Way”, from the movie A Star Is Born.  The lyrics skated beside her:

Lovers in the night
Poets trying to write
We don’t know how to rhyme
But, damn, we try
But all I really know
You’re where I wanna go
The part of me that’s you will never die 

Marcy told the story.  We looked on in wonder.


I decided to do two hours on the elliptical yesterday afternoon.  No sweat, I thought, since I’d done much more than that recently.  The first hour was smooth.  A good rhythm and I felt strong.

On we go to Part Two.  And I started well.  Somewhere around twenty minutes, though, something was wrong.  My arms slowed, my legs slowed, and I swear my brain slowed. My breath was no longer silent and the weight of the world pressed on me.  “How can this be?”  I’d eaten enough, had a good sleep, and felt happy.  But I continued to spiral down.  forty-five minutes, I stopped.

And then it was time to choose … an attitude.

A. You’re a weak and uncommitted and just plain bad person.

B. For some unknown reason, you don’t have it today.  This says nothing about you as a person.  Accept what is.

A smile came as I chose Option B.  Sure I was disappointed but life keeps showing me its yins and yangs.  O great imperfect one … celebrate it all.


Last night I watched eight short films at the Wolf Performance Hall in downtown London.  One lasted just ten minutes but will stay with me considerably longer than that. It was about a figure skater.  We saw her being interviewed and the woman’s face was vibrant.  As they say, “Her smile reached her eyes.”  And the skating!  In a glowing dress, our heroine spun and floated, radiant on the ice.

Then there was the matter of her age … 91.  She winked and said that she doesn’t fall much anymore.  Good thing, I thought.  Over the last few years, she’s won several medals in her age group – 50 and above.

After our skater had finished her comments for the film, words appeared on the screen: her date of birth … and her date of death.  Most of the two hundred of us present let out an audible “Aww.”  I so much wanted her to still be alive.  And then more words: “She died as she lived – on the ice.”

I thought of my earlier weakness.  I thought of her thoroughly alive face.  Definitely something to learn here.

Who am I to play small?  I know someone twenty-two years older who rocked the house every time she did a spin.