I was sitting in the very back row at church on Sunday and a little girl of about seven walked down the aisle to the bathrooms, close to where I was sitting. Clip, clop, clip, clop. She had on flip flops that snapped delicately against her bare feet, but sounded significantly louder with the acoustics of the room. She didn’t seem to notice the sound. After a few minutes, she came out of the restroom to rejoin her family, but she stopped at the very back row of pews. I looked over and she raised her arms to shoulder height. Before I could even ponder what she might be doing, she twirled. Her skirt wasn’t particularly wide or flowy, but she twirled anyway. Then she twirled again. And just as quickly as she started, she put her arms down, and strolled to her seat, her shoes snapping at her heels as she went.
It occurred to me that at some point in adolescence we lose that sense of fancy. Or at least our ability to express it openly. Rarely, outside of a dressing room, do you see a grown woman twirl. Yet, if I recall correctly, it feels great. Now, my balance being what it is, I could never spin more than a single time without falling over… but just once… arms outstretched… not caring who saw… how great would that feel? That gesture – that twirl – is a tiny expression of freedom, of pleasure in one’s garments, of joy at just being… and at some point it becomes undignified to express it. And that just seems wrong.
Today, I will twirl.