I write to you from a secluded cabin in the Klamath Mountains of Southern Oregon. There’s a fire in the woodstove to keep us warm. It’s quiet and oh-so-still here (and brisk). Peaceful. We hike. We read. We soak (in the hot tub). We talk. We eat. We reconnect. We slow down and immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature that surrounds us. . . .and we are restored. We’ve come here six times in the last year. Never knew this magical place prior to the pandemic, but it’s been our sanctuary. So grateful to be able to escape to a weekend of quiet simplicity.
I will miss dancing with you tomorrow on the grassy dance floor at beautiful Town Park in Corte Madera. Last weekend was my third time dancing with real people in the park and it was heart-palpitatingly exquisite for I worked up to dancing in duet. Yes, the first two times, I guess I just had to get my footing, so to speak, and so I danced almost exclusively solo. Yes, it’s different, approaching another dancer when there’s a mask involved. Are they smiling? Is this a gesture of welcome? But you know, we give it the proverbial whirl, and we figure it out. We understand enough about body language to discern whether or not another dancer is a “yes” to dancing together. We are sensitive and attuned to the level of receptivity from another dancer.
On Sunday, I slowly approached a beloved friend on the dance floor. I came at him from the side, noticing how he might receive me into his space. I sidled up next to him and gently set my backside against his. Oh, glory! You know how much I missed this! Yes! Partner dancing! Yes! Yes! Yes! Sweet dancing friends, I have very much missed dancing with you in real life! It was heaven to be in contact with another dancer as we swayed together, exploring movement, figuring out the language of our shared dance. I love this! I love taking in someone’s dance, allowing myself to be inspired by their movements, and then doing my own dance in answer to their shoulder, their hip, their knee, the tapping of their foot. It’s a conversation of the physical body and it’s dizzyingly delightful! Why? Because I feel the connection. And yes, there’s much to be said for connecting with the self during dance, to connecting with spirit, to connecting with the music, but good god almighty, after a year of dancing alone in my living room, it felt divine to actually feel another person, to push up against him, to surrender to touch, to move together and apart. Magic. Pure, bodily magic, I tell you! I was restored (heart, body, soul) by dancing with another beautiful human. Yeah, so that happened. 😊
I hope you have a dazzling sort of dance tomorrow.
You’ll be in the very best hands with our beloved Open Floor co-founder, Lori Saltzman.
Here’s the link to the mesmerizing merriment: https://www.openfloordance.org/community-dances
Don’t forget to register ahead of time (“save a spot” or some such language)
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and so we celebrate the mothers, the mother energy, the nurturing mother magic. This is my favorite poem that honors motherhood. Enjoy!
The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.
Sending love & sparkle dust,