Let Us Dance

October 20, Sassafras Leaf & Lichen Rock

Life is a dance that I can’t seem to learn, a dance whose rhythm seems to change just when I think I recognize the song and my feet are starting to move without conscious thought and effort, as if the dance comes naturally.


The beat changes and I find myself on unfamiliar ground, or the earth moves and my feet become entangled and down I go.

Sometimes I crumble gracefully to the ground and then pick myself up and listen to the new beat and start again and no one notices the fall wasn’t part of the choreography.

Other times, it is almost like I have time traveled and been suddenly thrust into a new setting with no awareness of how I got there. I might have been waltzing in the sunlight along the mossy banks of a magical stream, a stream that sings to me, when I suddenly find myself in the middle of a busy intersection of New York City. Cars are whizzing by and splashing mud from the street onto my dress. There is a song around me that seems not to have any discernible melody and try as I might I cannot feel the vibration as anything but noise, painful noise. There are other people around me. They are whirling and twirling and swaying with such beauty that there is no way they are hearing what I am hearing. Why don’t they see my pain? They are oblivious to my fear and the danger I see.

I remember as a child being told I could not sing, and if I could not carry a tune or sing in key then I was positive I could not dance.

So I danced alone. I danced in my dreams. I even ballet danced on my toes. In my mind I could dance all sorts of dances. I could leap with grace. I even imagined dances made of anger. But I never ever danced in front of people. As I grew older I danced behind the barn. I danced in the moonlight.

I wish with all my heart that I could learn this dance of life, that I could hear the changes of the timing and the beat and the rhythm and move from one to the other effortlessly. I imagine a stage where I dance a ballet by the shore of an ancient lake to a melody of hope and desire, and then the lights on the stage dim and when they brighten again I am a tap dancer. I am making the music. I am tapping out the rhythm of my life with ease and joy. I can even imagine the “tap dancer me” kicking off her shoes and beginning to Hip Hop an interpretation of her life, complete with breaking, popping, locking and krumping.

I want to understand the moves and hear the sad notes with the certainty that joyous notes will follow. I want to be a master improvisational dancer.

I want to be the music.

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