Friday, May 04, 2007

Change of Times and Seasons

Two summers ago I rollerbladed to the music in the outdoor rink in Central Park, near Sheep's Meadow and danced with the African drummers and dancers, originally near Bethesda Fountain, and later near the bandshell.

Something happened over the years that I lost my motivation to pack sandwiches, strap on my blades, and bullet myself toward West 72nd Street to roll, bounce, and shake my booty to classic R&B, Hip Hop, and House music.

I watched people come and go in the outdoor rink and drum circle. A few participants have met with tragic or dramatic deaths over the years.

What was once fun, became political or mundane. Several years back the drummers had their Djembe and dun-duns confiscated by Central Park Police or dour-faced representatives from the Central Park Conservancy, and had to appear in front of a judge to reclaim.

I miss the community of skaters, hangers-on, and tourists who'd congregate around the rink with their 35mm, digital,or videocameras. I met cool people and learned a few tricks on my blades.

The drum circle at its height was incomparable. East and West African, Caribbean and South American drummers in college drumline formation as trained, natural, and not-so rhythmic dancers from all over the world performed barefoot as even more people gathered in the grass behind us, or atop the bridge, clapping their hands and swaying to the beats.

Here's a picture of me at least three feet in the air, muscled, and lean. How I yearn for that physique again.

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