Monday, February 15, 2010

Two young men

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics have, at this point, left two deep impressions on my soul: The startlingly dangerous nature of many of the sports, and the lyrical beauty of the human body when it has been encouraged to express itself physically.

When I watched the opening ceremonies, I was really amazed by all of it; as creepy as I found Beijing's multitudes of simultaneous posings, I was enthralled by the use of technology and props used in 2010 to transport the viewer to the grandeur of Canada, to the mountains, to Vancouver itself, back in time and forward again. Above it all, both literally and in my opinion as well, there was an aerialist suspended by barely visible lines; he ran, and danced, and soared over blowing grasses to the perfect accompaniment of Joni Mitchell. I was absolutely transfixed by the grace and glory of that young fellow who "flew." I've looked for more information about the guy (Thomas Saulgrain,) have searched for a clip online, trying in vain to find the full segment; sadly, I've uncovered only bits and pieces amidst collections of musical highlights from that opening ceremony. I'll keep looking, because I really long to see him fly again. I want to hold onto that feeling that it's possible. I want to see his natural, fluid movements and see the wonder on his face. He was a spectacular performer; I wish I had that sort of presence in any area of my life. Sheer beauty.

And then. In stark, horrible contrast, there is that poor Georgian son who also flew, on an icy track, too icy most think, and he flew too fast. As much as the aerialist defied the limitations of the human body (albeit with fine, thin wires,) the memory of Nodar and that speeding sled hold us all firmly on this rough, terrestrial ball by reminding us of the fragility of life. His loss, his awful death, reminds us all of the delicate nature of even the most tuned, practiced, prepared body. A young man, practically a boy, he had family at home that he'd talked to the day before his passing. He began the last moments of his life looking down the length of his own prone form just before it betrayed him. Someone's child, someone's friend, someone's neighbor. Snatched away instantly. He, unlike that other boy, was not permitted to fly.

There they both are, stuck in my mind; one offers a respite from the horror of the other, yet the horror cannot be denied; it keeps me where I need to spend most of my days—planted on the ground, taking precautions, being careful. Perhaps it's because I spend so many of my days firmly grounded in reality that I cling with such steadfastness to that other young man, suspended over the golden grass, touching down only when he chooses.

Did I mention how much I liked the opening ceremony, at least what I was able to stay awake to see? Did I mention how bummed I was that my little boy couldn't even make it through the parade of nations and missed all the best parts? Even the big boy at my house missed the best parts for sleeping. A shame.

Stay warm, dream of soaring, and measure your risks with care.


Anonymous said...

I really liked the Joni Mitchell "dancer". I'm mad at nbc b/c people had clips of the opening ceremonies up on there but they were removed b/c of copyright. OK, nbc, then put up the clip yourself!!! lame. one of my friends turned off the ceremony at that point b/c she said it was "boring". !!!! so weird.

I also hate nbc for showing that clip of the Georgian luger during opening ceremonies. It was horrible to see, even with their warning. :(

Anonymous said...

meant to say "people had the clips on youtube"

Athelas63 said...

Hmm. Now, don't get me wrong - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Opening Ceremonies and always watch the entire thing. But of all the opening stuff, the boy flying above the prairie was my least favorite! Not a big Joni fan to begin with... what I loved was the whales "swimming" and "spouting!" I think the "celebrate the Native Americans" thing might have gone on a trifle long, and isn't crazy fiddle music IRISH, not French Canadian? I did love the Opera singer's hair (!) and always the parade of nations - everyone so thrilled and excited; except the poor Georgians, trying so hard to be brave.

Yes, wish NBC would put more stuff up on Youtube, but they do have lots on their own Olympic site, including Nodar, which I feel is important - we need to remember him.

Anyway - loving it all - Citius, Altius, Fortius!

Tim - Families Again said...

Minute 28.45 is the part you are looking for. Enjoy! I've watched it 2 or 3 times since the opening ceremonies as well. Best part of the whole thing.

Mel said...

Tim at FA--THANK YOU. I wasn't patient enough in my initial search. I just watched the flying boy again: EVERY bit as beautiful as I recalled. My son sat on my lap and drank it in, too. I really appreciate you sharing that info, and the exact starting moment was a huge help. {: )

Mel said...

and thanks to other sis comments--I am sad you didn't like the boy, Athelas, but I also loved the whales. so cool. and yes, anon, I was really glad when NBC finally stopped showing that. shouldn't have shown it, probably. that image stays with you and it's awful. I saw a story about it with the Nodar's dad and he said he refused to watch the images--I was glad.