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Friday, September 18, 2009



I relish NPR, a late game of Rook, smiles, stormy days, and those couple of times a year when you wear your pajamas all day and sort of...baste in all your woes and sorrows.
If there is anything heart-rending, mildly touching, of profoundly good taste or tissue-worthy, my family and friends knowingly look to me to provide the tears. I’m a teacher, godmother, word-bungler, spontaneous traveler, role-of-hostess shirker, and I just found out that I’ll soon be an aunt. Topics you may wish to avoid with me, unless you’re prepared for a long, excited conversation with hand movements: education, party politics, books, food, old musicals, and my family.

If you caught me dancing in my kitchen on a summer evening, you can bet I'd be dancing the blues, at least my version of them. The preoccupation has extended beyond my home as of late. A roommate recently introduced me to a group that meets on Thursdays and sways the night away. 9 to 12 goes by in a flash - a syncopated, slow-steppin', melt-into-the-perfect-turn flash. My body is meant to move like this. I still misread leads and I mess up the footing once in a while, but there's an ease to it that's familiar and enthralling.

Dancing the blues engages the same aspects of myself that writing and even teaching do. Instead of building up to a proficiency, I feel as though consummate experience with these requires pulling away layers of fear, blindness, deceit, and a multitude of other damning accumulations, to get at something that is already there, that’s true and pure and pulsing with life and joy. The immediacy of dance, the trust required, the necessity of shaking off missteps so the next moments may be enjoyed, an affiliation to the sound and movement, these elements combine to form an environment where I readily shed a few of the self-made shackles that keep me from growing, sharing, loving, shining.

There’s the unfortunate replacement, the persistent, favored fetters that somehow find their way back, but others remain there on the dance floor, cast aside forever.

Their absence permeates my life.

It makes me wonder, what other opportunities lie in wait for me to grasp, what talents, gifts, inclinations are ready to be cultivated, what roads have called to me that I’ve been too afraid to traverse, what joys can I open myself to, what joys can then be shared? And I don’t want to approach them timidly, shuffling apologetically to their sides, unwilling to engage them head on. I want to reach out with faith, confidence, grace.... perhaps I’ll dance to them.


Gerb said...

Very thought-provoking, Laura, and beautifully written. I have many of these same thoughts that you mention in your final paragraph - and I hope that I, too, am not afraid to dance!

Anonymous said...

There is something to be said about dancing in the kitchen with the radio blasting.

Good for you, Laurab!

Teachinfourth said...

When you made the proverbial 'leap of faith' and danced out the doors of AE, it is a testament to this posting...

Yes, what grand adventures await?

Corine said...

I love this post! Life is so filled with opportunities that we often don't recognize or seize. I find myself sidestepping them, and then kicking myself for it. Because the truth of it is, we don’t feel comfortable doing something new, until AFTER we do it.

And we never really know that we are capable of something, until after we actually take a leap of faith, and just make an attempt to do it.

Thanks for the reminder. :D

Trish said...

This is why I think you and my daughter Becca were seperated at birth. You are awesome!

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