Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Dance

Whirling Dervishes in a Tekke, c. 1845-1855
Water and bodycolour over pencil
Preziosi, Aloysius Rosarius Amadeus Raymondus Andreas (5th Count Preziosi)

Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End?


Don't call this world adorable, or useful, that's not it.
It's frisky, and a theater for more than fair winds.
The eyelash of lightning is neither good nor evil.
The struck tree burns like a pillar of gold.

But the blue rain sinks, straight to the white
feet of the trees
whose mouths open.


Doesn't the wind, turning in circles, invent the dance?

Haven't the flowers moved, slowly, across Asia, then Europe,
until at last, now, they shine
in your own yard?


Don't call this world an explanation, or even an education.

When the Sufi poet whirled, was he looking
outward, to the mountains so solidly there
in a white-capped ring, or was he looking
to the center of everything: the seed, the egg, the idea
that was also there,
beautiful as a thumb
curved and touching the finger, tenderly,
little love-ring,
as he whirled,
oh jug of breath,
in the garden of dust?

 -Mary Oliver--excerpt from Why I Wake Early

We dance on...all of us, dancing and spinning and turning and reaching for one another and connecting and disconnecting. 

Whether in a structured setting...

Two Dancers in the Studio
Edgar Degas, Oil on canvas, 1901 
The Square Dance
Artist Unknown

At the Ball -- Oil on canvas, Leopold Schmutzler

On a stage or in a grand ballroom...

Jeune le Cafe de Paris
Oil on canvas, Beraud

Or maybe in a decidedly
unstructured setting,


Dancing Gypsy Woman 
Oil on canvas , Adrien Moreau

...or outside in the fresh spring air.

Maybe it's only metaphorically that you dance. However it is that you choose to dance through life, 
Dancing Tree, photographer unknown

keep turning.

Who says the trees won't join you in the dance?

And so the dance goes on. Remember, we only imitate the wind, who invented the dance. At times we look out toward the mountains and on to the stars beyond them. At other times we look inward as we spin and arch and spin some more.

It's all in the cycle and seasons of our existence here, then, isn't it? Neither approach is better than the other. It's only different. That's my theory anyway.

Are you looking at the 'big picture' as you dance the dance? Do you see the white-capped mountains that loom so large in the distance? That sort of dance makes me feel dizzy and overwhelmed at times. I'm much better at the inward-looking part of the cycle, where the universe it equally infinite, but each moment seems easier to hold onto, to see more clearly, to inspect thoroughly. I feel more empowered when looking at the 'little love-ring' as I whirl.

The important thing, I think, is to just keep on turning in this "frisky theater" in which we live and love and work and play and laugh and cry each day .

What kind of dance are you doing in this little garden of dust?

Whether with the piqué turn of a ballet dancer, or the wild abandon of a gypsy (or anything in between), I hope you dance today.

I found this video named "The Mountain," from Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd, to be as beautiful as any dance I've ever seen. Music is "Nuvole Bianche" by Ludovico Einaudi. It illustrates to me the connectedness of all living things, great and small. We're all in this great dance together. Enjoy.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

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