Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

To Dance With Life

I was an awkward, shy, frightened, uncertain, insecure child. I didn't know about normalcy, had no idea that the oddly dichotomous life of privilege and poverty wasn't the same life everybody lived.

In my early teens, I was sent to boarding school - it probably saved my life, if not my sanity. Honestly, I don't think anything would save the sanity, and I don't know that I've missed it. Others may wish I had a fuller measure of the stuff, but I'm fine with my crazy. It's comfortable, like the worn-to-my feet pair of pink flamingo slippers that live in my closet and come out when I want a laugh and have cold feet.

At the boarding school, I met and lived with kids who had a better grasp on normalcy. I thought them strange, curious creatures worth study if not emulation.

They wanted to have dances, just like other kids in other schools. There weren't many of us at the school, so it was slim pickings for partners. I'd never been to a dance, didn't know what they entailed. Except for one, I didn't go to any at the boarding school - I had the distinct impression I wasn't wanted at them, and only went to the one because I was desperately lonely and searching for...something.

I sat in the darkest corner of the building where the dance was held - the main class building, called The Hex because it was hexagonal (original, weren't we?) - and watched. I didn't know this kind of dancing, and I wished I did. I thought maybe I would be better liked if I knew how to move like the other kids moved. One boy took pity on me and asked if I would like to...and I tried...but in the end, I just drank some punch and left.

I didn't know that kind of dancing.

Later, I realized that I knew a different sort of dancing, one that doesn't belong in a building with electricity, rock music, low lights, the miasma of teen hormones, teen angst.

I know the dance of sea and shore.

I know the dance of mountain and sky.

I know the dance of tree and wind.

The rhythms of star and sky, sun and moon, the music of river and stone, the thrumming beat of the Earth's heart.

These are not dances that can be danced within doors - they need the flickering, uncertain light of fire, the shadows outside the circle of flame, the night sky and its diamond chip stars.

I never did learn how to dance properly...but I can still, when no one is watching, dance with life.


Blogger Dad said...

That was very well written. It ALMOST makes me want to dance. Unfortunately, even the trees and ocean would laugh at me. My son, on the other hand, LOVES dancing! I'm not sure where he gets it from, it must be instinctual and we just unlearn it out of fear of looking silly.

MereCat said...

There is no way to dance properly. Dance is emotional and there is no right way to do it. You ARE dancing right, you know.

And "miasma?" Sexy new word!

Kyddryn said...

Ah, Blogger Dad - the trick is to dance like no one is watching. Kids are always flawless dancers, because they dance to fling forth their joy. We could take a lesson from them...

Merecat, thanks.