Saturday, August 9, 2008

Opening ceremony in Beijing

I was headed out to pick peaches yesterday evening on our last tree when I remembered the opening ceremony of the Olympics was about to start. Well, I'll just watch a few minutes of that first, I thought; little did I know, I would be on my couch mesmerized by the show for the next 3 hours!

My first clue was the countdown: 2008 drummers playing and twirling in harmony to music, and then a visual countdown as we saw an aerial view of drums lit up to form 60, then 40, and so on until they reached 1 and everyone cheered; the cameraman found one drummer who breathed a huge sigh of relief; his part of the show was over.

Ony 13,000 performers to go! And they covered all the bases: singers, dancers, children in traditional costumes from the 50 different parts and people of the country, proudly participating in the most important day their country has seen in a very long time. It was absolutely, stunningly amazing! China put on such a show, and the people worked so hard to bring to the world a positive view of their country: as this year's motto says, one world, one dream, we could almost believe it for the next couple of hours. One of the highlights of the show was the little boy who survived the May earthquake in China and rescued some of his classmates walking with Yao Ming carrying the flag in the parade of nations, a bare spot on the side of his little head, a hero's badge of honor. (The U.S. looked very smart in their coordinated suits and hats in that parade, BTW!) And then the closing ceremony, the lighting of the torch: the flame was passed to 8 honored athletes (8 being a very lucky number in China, thus the opening date for the games of 8-08-08)The last athlete was then hoisted into the air, where he "jogged" airborne around the upper edge of the "birds nest" stadium (think about those Chinese movies where they sword-fight in the skies) in front of a visual "scroll" that unfolded beside him on a huge screen that ran around the entire upper edge of the stadium until he reached the enormous cauldron, which he then lit with his torch. Then ensued the largest display of fireworks I have ever seen! All in all, a breathtakingly beautiful show, I can't imagine how many people it took to put together such a visual work of art for all the world to see.

And I couldn't help but think, quilters also do this! I was fortunate enough Thursday night to visit the Asheboro Quilters' Guild, where they presented a quilt they had made to their local hospital for the new cancer wing, and what a work of art it was! Again, several of the quilters had worked together to create a beautiful quilt, with so many special details: dimensional floweres, embroidered birds, scenic mountains and clouds, a picket fence, even a quilt within the quilt, all parts working in perfect harmony to bring beauty and pleasure to the viewer. Something to think about besides what lay behind the doors at the hospital, this quilt was a work of art, sweat, and joy, and what a sense of pride these ladies must have felt! Just goes to show how much good we can do in our own back yard, working together to bring a little joy and hope to our community. I hope you're able to do that this year as well.