Thursday, June 10, 2004

Fences

The other day as we were going through the park we passed a young woman who was moving slowly, leisurely, running her fingertips across the grid of the fence, her arm dragging slightly behind her. (Is there a word for this act?)

She seemed a little sad. Lost in thought.

It's not something I see very often in real life anymore. It's a quasi-romantic/nostalgic scene that belongs in a movie. It's something schoolboys do with sticks. Is it the domain of the young to do this, and therefore occurring outside my range of vision? Or has the environment changed — fewer fences of the wrong sort entirely in inappropriate places?

Why do we do it? The sheer sensation of the rhythm, reverberating along the arm, through the body? It never seems to cause joy in itself. Though a very deliberate act, it has an absent-minded quality — the mind is elsewhere, also reverberating. Is it a zen moment? Present yet absent. Lost in absent thoughts.

Yesterday Helena chose to explore the corners of the playground. With outstretched arm, walking leisurely through the tall grasses, she ran her fingertips across the bars of the fence, her arm dragging behind her. She seemed lost in thought.

Did she remember the woman of the other day and want to experience the moment for herself? (Different kind of fence.) Did Helena spontaneously intuit there would be a rhythm to match her soul in this act?

We watched Love Actually last night — an utterly charming movie. Lots of laughs, but it made me cry too. Some viewers may have gripes about having to flesh out the characters and fill in plot blanks for themselves. The film is a broad-stroked sketch capturing tiny slivers of life, moments of love.

From the movie's outset we're reminded that "love actually is all around." We don't always notice it, so quiet amid the horrors of the world, but it's there, everywhere. Never mind that it crops up in the unlikeliest and sometimes most inconvenient of places. That it can cause as much grief as joy. That it's the thing war's are fought over. It's a beautiful thing.
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