Riding at Anchor on the Lawn?

The Village Voice 15 Aug 1974English

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One of the nicest things about the last weekend of performances at the American Dance Festival was the quietness. The Connecticut College campus itself was quiet -the students were packing or had packed. On Sunday morning you could sit down for a minute on the grass where Nathan Clark had spread a pre-breakfast picnic of screwdrivers and toast the end of the summer.

Friday night we sat in the Arboretum at dusk waiting for Laura Dean's "Changing", watching the melancholy dying pond and lighting cigarettes to warn away mosquitoes. Suddenly -how long had we looked in another direction?- a woman stood on the lawn with her back to the pond. Two women. Three women. Their long dresses -one crimson, one peacock blue, one yellow- belled out stiffly; loose bodices hid everything but their faces and hands. The silk of their dresses resisted the wind and glowed mysteriously against the dark trees and lake. Pale Gainsborough ladies. Ancient dolls.

Suddenly . . . were two of them leaning toward the center? How slowly they must have tilted. A drum began to beat in the woods behind us -John Smead, but I never saw him. After a long time it became clear that the women were advancing toward us over the lawn. (Here people nudged each other incredulously.) You couldn't see the women's feet moving, nor did their bodies betray them with the slight side-to-side sway a walk usually engenders. They weren't walking, they were simply coming toward us -sailing very slowly and by infinitesimal degrees. Chess figures moved by a hidden hand. Suddenly, they all fell forward onto their faces, breathed into the grass, rolled over, got up with their backs to us, and moved away. Quietly, slowly, invisibly. When they reached the broad steps leading down to the water, they floated down. Their feet disappeared, theirlegstheirhipstheircheststheirshoulderstheirheads. They had sunken into the earth. Several small children ran to look for them.