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mindful mondays

April 23, 2013

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We watched them jump
from one precarious ledge to another and climb
concrete walls and do back flips
in the sun,
long shadows landing on green grass.
Running and vaulting and spinning
on an imaginary axis.
Every single move calculated and linked
to a single breath.

In the housing estate
a hundred red doors,
each the same as the next,
and buildings with names of classic authors and poets,
and the sounds of rough kids
playing rough games, shouting
Hey! whatchu taking pictures at?“,
in a thick north london accent.
The sky“, I said,
convincing myself that I wasn’t intimidated.

The photography teacher talked about the philosophy of parkour
in an environment much different from the one we were heading to.
The prestigious RIBA,
a library rich with the works of a thousand architects,
buildings made of marble and steel.
He talked about the martial arts-like focus
of the man who looks danger in the eye and then defies it.
What they do looks unsafe“, he said,
but watch their faces the split second before they jump…
the intense focus, how they already see
the goal and there is

nothing else“.

The troubles at home,
the pressures of life in “the hood”,
the general uneasiness of teenage years – that chrysalis of life,
the quiescent mind of childhood breaking into adulthood.
None of that matters in that split second.
And then they leap with faith
and land with control
and when,
back in the real world, they are faced
with all of life’s petty challenges,
they stand tall with a confidence
I can only aspire to.

At the end of the day,
an old man walked towards my lens and stood in front of  me,
with not an ounce of self-consciousness, he said
I haven’t broken one yet“, pointing at my camera,
with a finger as gnarly as the branch of an old apple tree,
and then he leapt across his 70 years and told me a story
of how he had been daring,
once, too.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Alison permalink
    April 23, 2013 6:03 am

    Pure poetry both in the words and in the pictures. I feel as though you have touched my heart and gently stroked it in a soft kind manner.

  2. Micheline permalink
    April 23, 2013 7:10 am

    I should have to pay to read writing this good. I’m continually surprised that I can come here and read things that bring me to tears or make me laugh my guts out or inspire me to look at the world (figuratively and literally) in a different light and it’s all free for the taking. You have a real gift. I’m so glad you keep sharing it.

  3. April 23, 2013 11:17 am

    What beauty is here. Both in the story and in the photos. I am beginning to like Mondays, because of you!

  4. April 25, 2013 2:19 pm

    They are all quite different and interesting…the black and white really works so well here.

  5. April 26, 2013 8:32 pm

    Beautifully written and gorgeous photos. So evocative.

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