Motion Without Movement

November 5, 2009
When we’re young, we’re told what beauty is: art, a model’s visage, and nature. As my life progresses, I’ve discovered beauty in the most unlikely places. Since starting college, I’ve been struck by the eye-catching aesthetics of everything I encounter. The campus itself seems surreal. In the center of the campus, surrounded by the academic buildings, is a large expansion of grass—pure green grass that is mowed nearly every day at eight in the morning while I’m trying to sleep.

There is no rhyme or reason for any of the students to be drawn to the quad, but there is an unknown force that pulls us in like gravity. I’ve spent hours studying and finishing assignments on its cushion, but it wasn’t until night fell that I discovered the true appeal.

A few of my guy friends have been playing Frisbee on the quad at 7, 8, 9, or even 10 o’clock at night, and I was invited one day. Having never played Frisbee before—which they deemed the best sport—I knew I wouldn’t be so hot on the field. Assuming it was because I was a girl and did not know most of the guys playing, the Frisbee wasn’t tossed to me very often. Instead of feeling insulted, I took a moment to step outside my body and watch the game from a whole new view.

On the left corner of the field stood a lanky guy, the light-up Frisbee clutched in his hand. He cocked his arm back and pulled the trigger—firing the Frisbee with such precision and grace that I was struck by the movement of it all. I was struck with how it cut through the air like an eagle’s wings and how it so resembled a flying saucer, thanks to the faint green glow of the actual instrument. The Frisbee soared beautifully into his teammate’s hand, and the process repeated itself. Not only was the flight of the Frisbee startling in its simplicity, but the body movements made by each player in order to catch it was just as graceful.

From one player to the next, the Frisbee was caught in midflight by arms that seemed to extend farther than they should. Some used a tactic of keeping the Frisbee in motion while catching it—by enclosing it in their hands while whirling their arm around like a windmill. The sudden stop of the Frisbee but the start of the helicopter arm was just as astounding as the throws.

The way the game was played, everyone was in motion—but it felt as though there was no movement, that each player centered their motion within himself and never outwardly expressed it. The movement was within their person, and could not be seen with the naked eye, but instead could be found with an open mind.

I may have looked like a star-struck groupie the first time I played Frisbee, but the discovery of beauty in motion without movement far outweighed my ignominy.

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