Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Flight of the Harmonious Stride

Maxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar performed their short program in team figure skating last night and it
Photo by zhem_chug at FlickrCommons
goes without saying that they were magnificent.

In any display of grand competence, I am always overwhelmed by how the performer makes what is so very difficult look effortless.  Last night’s performance was such an example.

Watching them work in tandem minds me of how much more difficult it is to work together than alone.  I don’t know how tall they each are, but she only comes to his shoulder, which suggests as much difference in the length of their respective legs, which suggests how very much they must both work – she stretching beyond her limits, he holding back, to match each other skate for skate, turn for turn.

Matching pace, each to the other, is no easy thing in any endeavor: marriage, friendship, teacher-student, dancing, skating, walking side by side – all require an awareness of the other, an ability to slow down or speed up beyond one’s own normal pace of life in order to operate in tandem with another.

It invites the pondering of who do we have to alter our pace for and the recognition that in that altered pace may well lie our best flying.

Sometimes we just have to slow down for someone else.  We get that.  When our kids are little, we’re spending a whole lot of time in first gear, walking more slowly, matching our pace to theirs, speaking more simply, explaining along the way.

And whatever our life’s work, there will be times when we have to match our pace to another less knowledgeable or experienced, showing them the way, pointing forward so they can see what we already know to be there.

And there will be times when someone else will do that for us.

There is a cost to the self in this matching of pace, of one’s own internal rhythms to another’s.

But when it works, oh, how glorious it is, for there be dancing in our flying and harmony to the universe.

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