= Observation Dance =

The first rays hit squarely into his eyes. He had found this out the first night he was there; that’s why he kept going back. No one about, The big old tree kept most of the elements off, the wind seemed less cold, the angle of the bench was just right and the sun woke him up early enough – even if it poured down just after, the first rays got him square in the face like a torch!
Grunting he sat up. He knew the consequences of staying there. Not that they could really do anything to him, but he just didn’t like the song and dance kicked up about him being there. He was going why go on about it?
He waited a moment for the world to slow up and come into focus. “Song and Dance”; he remembered the old tune, the boards, the lights, the bung notes the applause.
He got up and watered the tree then went and checked what was in the bin. Yesterday’s paper and a half eaten apple. That’ll do for breaky.
After he finished the apple and mentally corrected the crossword he folded the paper neatly and slid it into the satchel he carried – record of his days his journal, his swag. Then he collected the blanket he’d acquired one day along the way; it had been soft then, soft and golden yellow brown, now it was stiff and faded street grey like the rest of him. Carefully he rolled it around his swag and hoisted the strap over his shoulder.
The day looked to be a dry one at least.

Jack pounded the last few yards up the hill and reaching the top stopped running forward yet his feet continued dancing on the spot to keep his momentum happening. Taking deep controlled breaths he focused out over the vista. He loved this spot the view was amazing! In his head the strains of the rhapsody played through his ipod phones matched the sight of the world waking up about him! The rest of his ipod tracks were the latest hits, but for this hill-climb he used Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. It reminded him of his mum. He never knew she liked it until it was on a TV ad one day and she made the world stop to listen!
“Life is a rhapsody full of hills and vistas and the challenge of reaching them” she had said in a dreamy kind of way. It had taken him a month to find it but he bought her a copy of the record, all digitally mastered onto a high tec CD and she’d play it in the afternoons smiling. She only had it for another month and then she faded off on the last cadence.
Now he played it to remind him of her and the challenge of life, starting every morning with this hill!
He strode over to the seat under the big old tree and stretched his calf muscles hamstrings and thighs before shaking himself all over dancing his arms and legs like he was a puppet and the master was jiggling him to untwist the strings. Bent over for a final deep relaxing breath he then set off jogging on.
‘Hey there old man look out!’ he called dancing about the bloke in the old coat shuffling down the hill

Don wore his name proudly on his work jacket for all the world to see and take notice of. He loved driving the mini pavement sweeper collecting up rubbish and crap from the day before. He let the sweeper weave up the path side to side bumping off the blue-stone gutters to get the bits from both sides as he watched the birds flying about looking for breakfast. He loved it when a big one was being chased by little ones. It was a ballet in the sky. It reminded him of the old black and white war movies on telly showing the World War Two dog fights of the “Battle of Britain”. He loved watching the old planes with the girls on their noses dancing this way and that in the air!
When he reached the top of the hill the tree covered his view of the sky. He stopped the sweeper and got off to see to emptying the bin there. After looking in he decided there was not enough to bother with. His management said they should change it regardless but he preferred to be less wasteful with the black bin lining bags. Better for the environment then.
He managed to shuffle in a few old tap steps between the bin and the sweeper then he was off again with a jolt. He could have been a dancer, would have tried if it hadn’t been so sissy!

Oh Man! They must have had breakfast this morning they’re still on his tail! Usually they dropped off half way up the hill but not today!
‘Gotcha ye punk!’ they grabbed him by the bag anchored to his shoulders and swung him sideways headfirst into the bin ‘Thought you could out run me huh? Not this time!’
‘Crap I will, you looked at my girl’s tits!’
‘I didn’t! Why would I? I see more on my little brother!’
That earnt him a kick in his thigh cos he blocked the wallop aimed at his head!
Fists swung he ducked blocked and parried, dancing sidewards and backwards. Finally he pirouetted and swung his bag out gaining more momentum and collected one of them sending them rolling down the grass. Then he was away down the path running for all he was worth, the school senior rugby team’s defense on his heels again!

In the settling quiet of the morning birds took turns pecking at the bugs swept out from the gutters and the others disturbed by the action on the lawn; peacefully ignoring the distant honks and continuous roar of city traffic.
‘Pretty birdy!’ chubby legs kicked in eagerness to run, chubby hands stretched out to grab at what was seen.
‘Yes look at the pretty birdies.’ snapped the mother pushing her new three wheeled pram containing the small child.
The flitting birds vanished, scared off from foraging as the pair approached. She stopped at the seat oblivious of the child trying to turn his face out of the sun blaring straight into his eyes. The mother reached into the bag beneath and withdrew a banana. She peeled it and broke a third off handing it to her child taking the half eaten apple from the chubby hand turned to cover his smarting eyes from the sun. Pulling his hands down to wipe apple from his face, ignoring his protest of the sunshine, she then walked back to the path tossing the apple with the banana skin into the bin. Then checking her ipod and ear phones as she ate the rest of the banana herself on the way back to her pusher.
Snack time over she checked her jogging outfit was right, track pants hung from her hips to cover her expensive footrest trainers the three layers of long sleeved and short sleeved tee-shirts and tank tops showed suitable amounts of hem gathered correctly at the hip they were worn seemingly inside out just to show off they were being worn. Her hair was pulled up into a pony tail yet with enough bangs and tendrils left loose “to soften” her face, defeating the whole purpose of pulling her hair out of the way! She ferreted out of the bag her body spray and liberally applied it all over her clothing. Then applied strawberry coloured lip balm before squirting antiseptic hand gel into her palms and rubbing it in then took up the pram handles and marched on down the path, straight back and legs pumping from the hips.
‘I don’t know why I bring you here you always cry! Now shoosh I have to get to dance class!’

The two motorised buggies pulled up and the riders greeted each other with a smile. Shaking hands grappled to hold each other and help each other to the bench. To sit and admire the late morning sunshine under the tree, their tree.
Every Tuesday for the last forty years they had met here. Hot passionate before work snogging turned into even hotter lunchtime quickies but the passion never went further and had faded into philosophical discussions that had turned into discussing their families achievements and now faded into reminiscences of life in general.
They regretted never having dated or danced partied or socialised together in any way but then theirs had not been a relationship like that.
‘dance with me now’
Laughing the old pair stood up and assumed the dance position shuffled about in the grass beneath the old fig that was even more ancient than they.
Tired they sat a bit longer then shuffled together back to their buggies to return to their respective lives.

She crossed the lawn heading for the tree. Her new fave reading spot for lunch. She’d only been coming here for a few weeks ever since she started her new job. She’d read four novels now and was onto her fifth; Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice” She was at the part where they were at the assembly ball where Mr Darcy strides in and annoys Elizabeth.
‘Sorry you wouldn’t have the time would you?’ a male voice interrupted her ‘My phone’s died’
‘Oh er.’ She looked up to the tall man on the path. ‘Um, just a sec!’ she ferreted out her own mobile phone to check the time only to discover it off. ‘Sorry just a moment!’ she turned it on but it came up flashing “Battery Low” and switched itself off again. Deflated she sighed ‘Er no my phone’s died too.’
Where he could have just thanked her and hurried on he didn’t.
‘What’s the odds of that? Two phones dead in the same place and time. Do you think it’s the hill?’ he came and sat with her uninvited ‘There could be some sort of magnetism under here for all we know stopping time and all who come here are affected.’
‘Um sorry I think it’s just rock…’
‘But think of the possibilities perhaps there is a secret organization that has their headquarters under here and every piece of technology that crosses it is effected.’
‘I really think it’s just a hill’
‘Well what if we come back tonight and find out that it’s not just a hill but there is an alien beacon that comes out to signal …’
‘Are you on something?’
‘Would you believe me if I told you I have never done this before in my life? I usually don’t approach strangers but I notice you come here all the time to read and I wanted to know what you were reading’
She showed him the cover and his face deflated a little
‘Sorry I haven’t gotten to Jules Vern’ she told him and he smiled
‘I’ll lend you mine and you can lend me yours?’
‘I don’t even know your name!’
‘If you come back tonight I’ll tell you it. Do you dance?’
‘Er not really why?’
‘There’s a street comp happens over there each week. We could watch it.’
He looked hopeful and now he had calmed down and wasn’t really all that crazy just nervous she guessed he seemed quite dashing.
‘Cool. Here at five?’
‘Cool. Gotto dash work and all that.’
She watched him stride off and then turn back
‘You will be here won’t you?’ he called
‘You’ll have to wait and see.’ She called back smiling and he grinned.
Her heart flipped and then seemed to dance in her chest
They waved and he ran down the hill. She stood up to watch him go and saw him pull his phone to his ear and talk into it …. and she smiled.
Gathering her book she gave a slight turn and a little skip then strolled slowly back to her work!

‘You don’t want this any more than I do!’
‘Bull! You can’t say what I want or don’t want! You are not me!’
They stopped mid lawn and yelled at each other; face to face, toe to toe, inches from each other fuming! But before their fight could continue the automatic watering system switched on and she squealed as they danced this way and that trying to dodge the jet sprays erratic pattern and get off the lawn and out of the spraying water. They aimed for the tree and the bench that looked dry, him dancing behind her trying to shield her from the worst of it as she seemed to totter in her heels across the wet grass. They dropped their matching brief cases onto the seat and saw to flicking water from their clothes.
‘Oh ruined!’ she fumed patting uselessly at her skirt with a tissue.
‘That’s not my fault!’ he said shaking water out of his hair
‘If I hadn’t have been standing out there arguing with you…’
‘My suit’s wet too!’
‘Who cares!’
‘Well I’ll remember that the next time I use it to try and shelter you from sprinkler water!’
‘Sprinkler water shoots up from the ground not falls from the sky like rain!’
‘You can’t just be grateful can you? Nothing is perfect enough for you! I’m not perfect enough! Well I’m not perfect and I never will be and you just have to live with that! Cos sister, You ain’t perfect either!’
She slumped down onto the seat her lip quivering. Her hair so perfectly coiffed now dripped in curls about her face her mascara running down her cheeks like a Perot clown.
‘I know I can’t make eggs and now I can’t even make the appointment. Look at me.’
‘Oh Hunny I’m sorry I didn’t mean anything.’ He squatted down before her the knees of his long legs either side of hers and his hands rubbing her elbows. ‘There’s time we’ll go find a place and fix you up. Or I can ring and cancel’
‘We can’t cancel, they won’t have another placing for weeks! I want to have a baby now!’
‘Ok baby ok we’ll be ok it’ll be fine. Come on then let’s just go they won’t mind us a bit wet.’
‘You do love me still even though I can’t get pregnant?’
‘Always and forever!’ he replied assuredly and kissed her ‘Now come on there’s a toilet black down this way.’
He helped her to her feet took both his case and hers from the seat and tucking her under his arm walked her down the path

Bikes crashed onto the lawn and they laughing ran from them to the tree to stand on the seat
‘Romeo Romeo!’ she acted out
‘Get out of it! What’s with the Romeo crap then?’ he scoffed
‘I’m in the school play I play Juliette!’
‘But she’s a girl!’
‘Well so am I!’
‘Don’t go bringing that into it you’re not!’
‘Well if I’m not a girl then what am I?’
‘You’re a … You’re … you’re a mate! You’re just Sam’
‘Samantha!’ she yelled to prove her point
‘Sam!’ He yelled at her as if that made it so!
‘You’re an idiot!’
‘Take that back!’
‘I won’t cos you are!’ she decided snootilly
‘Take it back I tell ya!’
‘Or what?’
‘Or I’ll …. I’ll ….’
Her face was right up at his and he suddenly wanted to do things to her that he’d seen Marty Johnson do to Lorraine Zanny behind the bike shed.
Next thing he knew he kissed her mouth.
She didn’t pull back but he did and stepping backwards fell off the seat to land on his bum in the grass His eyes hadn’t left her and he expected her to be laughing at him for falling off but she still stood there frozen in shock! The stories of turning people to stone at a single touch filled his mind. It was as if his kiss had done that to her she hadn’t moved!
She scared him and he scrambled to his feet and ran for his bike. he grabbed the strap of his bag and leapt onto his bike mid run and rode off.
Smiling she turned and sat on the seat then stepping away onto the lawn opened her arms out wide and danced about in circles laughing up at the sun.
‘Romeo Oh Romeo where for out thow Romeo?’ she came to a stand still ‘Bugger I forget what’s next. It’ll be in my book in my bag.’
She skipped over to her bike and the bag laying with it and realized he’d taken her school bag so grabbed his and stepped onto her bike to catch him up!

He paced waiting hoping she’d come not knowing if she would. He’d changed and his suit was now crammed into the bottom of his back pack. Would she recognise him in his baggy jeans and sweatshirt? Maybe he should have waited for her and then changed, but five was pushing it to get to the street dance scene as it was. If he wanted a turn he needed to get there early.
Then he saw her coming up the path. He smiled she had only added a black jacket to her clothes of soft tan pants and creamy shirt. She didn’t recognise him from that distance and he smiled as she walked over to the bench and sat down hugging her bag’s shoulder strap to her and looking about.
‘’Scuse me would you have the time?’ he asked smiling waiting for her to recognise him
But instead she tried to avoid looking at him, tried to hide from him by ignoring him. Buggar he should have kept his suit on.
‘Ah I asked you…’
‘I heard! No I don’t! Now leave me alone!’ she snapped at him and looked at him in a condescending way.
‘Sorry’ deflated at her sheer prejudice to his clothing he backed off.
Deflated he walked away from her.
A part of him wanted to tell her it was him from lunch time but he’d seen that reaction to “his kind” before. It’s ok he would dance his anger out but he wanted to stay with her. It was getting dark soon and she may wait for ages for him. It made him feel guilty.
Should he nick into the bushes and change then go back to her? Doing that was admitting to himself she would only talk to him if he were in a suit and he could never take her to the scene then!
He loved dancing but she was old school She probably thought he was taking her Ballroom dancing or to the ballet or something!
“Eff it!” he thought and strode down the hill

As the sun sank over the western side of the hill people rushed past wanting to get home. None stopped.
Annoyed at being stood up she stood up and walked on home dropping her book into the bin. Life just didn’t have Darcy’s in it any more!

He shuffled up to the tree warm from the soup kitchen meal. But habit had him look in the bin.
Another bloody apple! Who wastes such good food all the time? Thoughts of Hot Apple Pie and ice cream made his mouth water. He’ll have it for supper and dream of pie and cream and other delicious treats.
What else? A book? A perfectly good book! One of the classics of English Literature no less. “Pride and Prejudice”. Near new and barely a page turned. Someone thought it rubbish though.
He sighed and made his way to his bench. eating the apple and reading the first page. That was the trouble now days, no one appreciated the classics. Well he knew the secondhand book store would appreciate it!
He lay down head on the book a pillow for a change perhaps he wouldn’t sell it to the book store.
But then he could get a chocolate bar or a packet of chips maybe even a coke. Maybe he should find some more books and then he could sell them himself and then he could ……
He fell asleep thinking of his enterprise

Above the bench the branches whispered emphatic witness to life’s song and dance played out below.

adgray © 2009

= Observation Dance =


Frankston, Australia

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

A day in the life of a tree
this tree

The Two of Us by Craig Goldsmith

When I saw Craig’s awesome shot of the gorgeous Centuries old Morton Bay Figtree on Sydney’s observation hill this story filled my mind!
I wonder what else this tree has seen!

Craig is currently supporting a mate Steven T. Hill Foundation with all profits from his sales. Please check out his gallery and help him to assist his mate in the USA – at least here in Aus we have free health care. Good luck Craig and I hope this helps!

Chookas! ♥

Artwork Comments

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