I had the pleasure of going to a play recently at Thunder River Theatre in Carbondale. Our local performing artists are truly a gift to the community. I always enjoy not only their talented performances but also the actions of the stage crew as they rearrange set pieces on a darkened stage for the ever-changing scenes. Everything is choreographed for smooth transitions, and it’s amazing to watch.
I also enjoy observing the even larger stage of the world around me. Autumn is alive with performing arts. You can step in your back yard, take a walk through the woods or alongside a stream and see choreographed performances all around you. Recently I was doing some seasonal fall yard work and heard the honking of geese. Looking up, I witnessed the “V” of their flock in perfect formation. Suddenly, as if by design, two or more of them moved out of line and dropped to the rear, causing a complete realignment of the formation. The shift was so smooth they barely missed a wing beat—just like the incredible actors and stage crew at Thunder River.
Thinking of this, I sometimes slow down for a moment and just observe what is happening in front of me. I think the performing arts can actually take many forms in everyday life: the repetition of movement honed with hours or years of practice, a gracefulness of that movement or a practiced eye. Watch a craftsman refining the edges of a new piece of furniture, a skilled machine operator carving out a hole in the earth with such precision that he works within inches of a pipe or tree root, watch the motion of a traffic officer directing traffic, the fluid movement of a runner.
Whether you are watching a play, a marching band, the Rockettes, or simply taking a peaceful walk in nature and noticing the gorgeous natural formation of a flock of geese, invite your mind to slow down and watch the movement.
The arts are always alive around you; you just have to take the time to see them.