There’s a construction site 100m behind our building and so the view from our third floor balcony includes seven large cranes, some white, some yellow, looming over the surrounding houses and framing the horizon of dark trees.
By this time, the sky fading to blush pink, they have ceased their busy movement and stand silent and still, like enormous cranes of another kind, sleeping on one leg, head tucked under a wing.
It’s noisy out here tonight, as it is most nights. The birds are flocking to their evening perches, calling to each other as they fly. They pick a crane and slowly fill up the cables on top, until the thin lines become dark and thick with the silhouette of hundreds of birds.
Then in a moment, without any noticeable sign given, they’ll rise in beautiful synchronisation and fly across the sky, choose another crane to populate, jostling for space, cawing loudly to each other.
The dance repeats over and over, the leap between perches, with more and more dancers gradually joining the group, until suddenly it’s full, and no one moves again. Perhaps it is that everyone has been accounted for, everyone has arrived, the dance has determined that everyone is in place. Now the night can begin, in full security, certain as they are that no danger can reach them here in their heavenly perch.
we are here… we are free
where everything’s allowed and love comes first
forever and ever together, we sail into infinity
we’re higher and higher and higher, we’re reaching for divinity
euphoria, forever, till the end of time
from now on, only you and I
We’re going up up up up up up up
euphoria, an everlasting piece of art
a beating love within my heart
We’re going up up up up up up up
I nearly didn’t go. It had been a long day with some frustrations and disappointments and I was heart sore, feeling disillusioned by the world and it’s people, rudely awakened, again, to the truth that no one is perfect, no movement is perfect, least of all me.
With bitterness and insecurity bubbling up into a potent mix just under my kin, I pulled on shorts and t-shirt, manoeuvred my hair into a ponytail and headed for the door before I lost my last shred of motivation.
The short run to the park did little to lift my spirits. I was self conscious about running along the road, with all the traffic passing, aware of my thighs juddering with each footfall and my breath coming sharp and uneven.
Two friends were waiting at the park but the instructor was already calling everyone into the circle, and so I got into place, giving myself a peptalk as I did. It’s one thing to joke over pasta and a glass of wine with friends about how beetroot red your face becomes every time you exercise, still another to let them actually see it in person.
The music began, loud and lively, and I focused on the woman in the middle of the circle: short and curvy, hair swept up in a bandana, she led each move with a whoop and a broad smile on her face.
As I followed her steps – now to the right, now to the left, and in! and out! – I felt my own cheeks start to shift, felt my own smile gently work it’s way out of the prison of disappointment and self pity it had been caught in. My body moved to the rhythms, and I swung my arms and my hips and found in each wild swing that a little more joy seeped out and joined the dance.
Euphoria was playing through the speakers and ll around the circle we lifted our arms above our heads, our feet dancing, our hips shimmying, and I felt that same euphoria running through me as I looked around at this circle, this place where – right at that moment – we all belonged.
Later, as we cooled down, I lay on my back on the soft grass and watched the pale grey clouds wing their way across the sky. And I closed my eyes and thought, thank you.
Photo source: fine art america