Ballet, Marathons, and Magpies

Yesterday I took my Middlest to the Oregon Ballet Theater’s world premier of Sleeping Beauty.  It was  such a beautiful production and lovely retelling.  Traveling to and from the event my daughter and I experienced more than just the excitement of the show – all around us was evidence of how magpie-esque people really are.

The Willemette Week does a fantastic job reviewing the ballet and includes three lovely photos. I was quite fond of the set’s utilization of sheer screens and backdrops to create the dimensionality of both the set and the story.

And, of course, there was plenty of eye candy through the overall sparkliness of the thing.  More than one little girl sitting near me commented on the tiaras, beading, accents, and general opulence of the set and costumes.  Which is apropos considering this is the story of a princess and the tribulations of a kingdom due to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

The orchestra was magnificent, the audience awed, and the experience fabulous.  And right outside was the residue of that morning’s Portland Marathon – a very different sort of event.

If you are a runner, perhaps you’ve toyed with the thought of running a marathon.  Or perhaps you’ve a collection of t-shirts and medals commemorating your efforts as a runner.  9,200 folks ran yesterday’s installment in physical exertion and determination, and gobs more did the associated runs and walks.

Two worlds, vastly different and yet much the same.  For both the ballet and the running world evidence the human need to meet its array of hierarchal needs. Both activities demonstrate our need to go past the basic and push towards achievement.

And I think both show how we humans have more in common with the magpie than you might have thought.

We like the sparkly things that catch our eye and give us pleasure.  Whether that means beaded clutches or reflective tape on the season’s newest running shoe, we look for the little pretty things that are so lovely to have and to hold.

We hoard stuff.  Boxes of ticket stubs and programs of productions seen, running shoes with way too many miles on their soles and bibs from past races.

We are very magpie-esque.  We come together in loose groups, we do “good” in our environment and yet sometimes peck things to death.  We don’t always fly swiftly or with grace, but we learn early to dodge danger and reach our goals.  We chatter in voices that are not always harmonious and yet are distinctly our own.

Both running and ballet demonstrate the human need to achieve great things with beauty and grace – and with a desire to collect bright and shiny things along the way.

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4 thoughts on “Ballet, Marathons, and Magpies

  1. As I read your 10 minute, I’m clutching my brand new dinner purse I purchased in France that is bright red and decorated with fabric roses. I’m a magpie too. So happy you enjoyed the ballet.

  2. I collect odd things in pairs. And occasionally things in threes. Only one shelf worth though. I prefer minimal. And books. Two whole huge almost wall size bookcases full, and fast running out of room.

    That ballet looks stunning. I miss the ballet.

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