I made a spontaneous escape today, and became part of the flow of people walking, cycling, rollerblading, jogging, baby-strollering and dancing through Stanley Park while jazz music wafted through the air.
It wasn’t a hot day, so I was surprised that my saunter from a parking meter on Cardero Street to Brockton Oval had left me sweating. I accepted a chocolate milk carton from an Armstrong Cheese booth gratefully, and parked myself in a still-open shady spot at the top of the bank near the main grandstand. There were lots of people there, but I don’t take much space.
An old-fashioned jazz band had just started playing, and several couples were dancing in the square in front of the grandstand. My attention was immediately caught by one couple in particular. The girl, vivacious and petite, was wearing a bright yellow tank top and a flippy white skirt that swung entrancingly with every move she made. Her partner looked polished with his long pants and dress shirt. Both danced with great energy, skill and style, perfectly in sync with each other. Their elaborate footwork included many high kicks, their legs moving in perfect unison. They were a joy to watch. I was mesmerized by the girl, especially, with her swinging skirt and ponytail. How I would love to be able to dance like that!
I admired a dignified couple in their 70s. They didn’t move with the energy or dramatic motions of the younger couple, but they were clearly experienced dancers, also perfectly attuned to each other. The gentleman wore dress clothes while his partner wore some kind of summery pantsuit; both wore hats to protect their heads from the sun.
A couple stood up from under the same shady spot where I was sitting and ran down the bank towards the dancing area. Even their running was in time with the music–they couldn’t wait! They joined hands as they ran into the dancing rectangle, and then seamlessly transformed into a dancing couple.
I like to become part of an anonymous crowd, sometimes. I’m free to watch without being scrutinized in return. I’m fascinated by the variety of humanity on display–the variety of bodies and the choices people make about how to cover (or reveal) those bodies.
I’m free to be alone with my thoughts. The music gives me pleasure. It becomes an emotional texture to my mental wanderings and I’ll carry that emotion with me in my memories of this day.