the rowing dance

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Watching people get in and out of rowing boats, demonstrates how far we still have to travel as a species.

People totter as if in a drunken stupor, mystified by the unpredictable rocking of this small wooden vessel, which when placed in water seems to break the laws of intellectual motion. Puzzled expressions reveal the cognitive struggle as passengers seek to compute this inexplicable movement which seems to defy understanding and rob mere human beings of basic balance and all dignity.

Other passengers seek to assist, so duos and trios dance in a tentative grippy melee. Each tries to support or save another, but with each slight grip, stagger or reach, the equilibrium is once again threatened and the dance continues as if almost perpetual motion.

Someone reaches for terra ferma. One leg on land adds a new dimension to the dance as new forces come into play and all try to compensate for the mix of wobble and solidity.

We can cure all manner of illness. We can transplant someone’s face. We can send probes to the other side of the universe and we can sense sadness in someone without words to express it, as if by telepathy.

Yet put us in a small boat and we become as fragile and inadequate as a paper spoon.

 

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