Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Storefront on the Green


I've long had this fantasy - a little storefront shop in my funky hometown. A window on the world, my favorite way to be in the world; just a little outside and apart.

Now here I am.  It's Sunday in Woodstock and our real estate office looks directly out on what we like to call the green.  In actual fact, it's covered with bluestone pavers, but there are a lot of plants that are carefully tended by very skilled volunteers, so I guess it's green.

Sunday afternoon in Woodstock New York means one thing:  drum circle.  It's a long tradition and one I honestly like a lot.  People gather on the green at four pm, drums are handed out, and the noise begins.  According to town rules, it stops at six pm sharp.  We wouldn't want to annoy anyone.

Right now, it's not a circle so much as a show.  The visitors don't seem to understand that they're invited to join in, so there are just a few of the regular drummers and a bunch of people watching.

Well, not everyone's watching.  There is a man dancing.

I don't recognize him.  I don't think he's one of our resident free spirits. He's quite an ordinary looking person, really.  If he was wearing a suit and tie I'd say he probably runs an art gallery.  He might also be a writer or a filmmaker.  But he's wearing shorts and a polo shirt and he's dancing around the center of the stone circle like he can't help himself.

He's all alone, his arms waving and his feet thumping and he seems completely un-self-conscious.  He is spinning one way, then another and to tell you the truth, he's really boogieing.  There's a lady shimmying on the sidelines, too, but she's not quite ready to get in the middle with him.

Now there's another man...shirt tossed off, fanny pack swinging, and he has taken his solo in the middle of the circle.  There's a young boy with him, looking horribly embarrassed yet clearly dying to join in.  The man dances wildly, then leaves the circle to wild applause, and the boy stays.  His feet start moving, he grins self-consciously, and he's doing a modern version of the hokey pokey.  That lures in a young girl, giggling and covering her mouth, then joining him.  As the drums continue, the boy tries to do some freestyle, something that clearly isn't his forte.  But he's got an audience and this is becoming a show.

Off to the side, a group of teenage girls dance together.  A beautiful young model-type finds her way to the center while her companion, a thin young man all in black, tapes her on his iPhone.

But my particular favorite is a man I'll call Connecticut Man.  Despite the horrific heat, he's wearing a white Polo long sleeve shirt and long khakis.  And suddenly, he moves to the center of the circle with sinuous movements, slinking around in a highly unexpected way.

This is usually a percussive circle with a big crowd of people sitting and making noise.  Somehow today, after two weeks of no-rain and oppressive heat, it's become a dance performance. I'm hoping it's a rain dance.

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