|Dance Of Life |
I cannot escape the moon. Its soft beams push aside the curtains at night. I don’t even have to see it — a cool blue energy falls across my bed and I am up. I race down the dark hall and swing open the door, not to leave home but to go back into it. “Moon, I’m here!” I shout.
“Good,” she replies. “Now give us a little dance.”
But my body has started moving long before she says anything. When did it start? I can’t remember — my body has always been moving. Since childhood I have reacted to the moon this way, as her favorite lunatic, and not just hers. The stars draw me near, close enough so that I see through their twinkling act. They’re dancing, too, doing a soft molecular jiggle that makes my carbon atoms jump in time.
With my arms flung wide, I head for the sea, which brings out another dance in me. Moon dancing is slow inside, and soft as blue shadows on the lawn. When the surf booms, I hear the heart of the earth, and the tempo picks up. I feel the dolphins leaping in the white foam, trying to fly, and almost flying when the waves curl high to the heavens. Their tails leave arcs of light as plankton glow in the waves. A school of minnows rises up, flashing silver in the moonlight like a new constellation.
“Ah!” the sea says, “Now we’re gathering a crowd.”
I run along the beach, catching waves with one foot and dodging them with the other. I hear faint popping sounds — a hundred panicky sand crabs are ducking into their holes, just in case. But I’m racing now, sometimes on my toes, sometimes running flat-out.
I throw my head back and a swirling nebula says, “Fast now, twirl!”
Grinning, ducking my head for balance, I start to spin as wildly as I can. This is my favorite dance, because it contains a secret. The faster I twirl, the more I am still inside. My dance is all motion without, all silence within. As much as I love to make music, it’s the unheard music that never dies. And silence is my real dance, though it never moves. It stands aside, my choreographer of grace, and blesses each finger and toe.
I have forgotten the moon now and the sea and the dolphins, but I am in their joy more than ever. As far away as a star, as near as a grain of sand, the presence rises, shimmering with light. I could be in it forever, it is so loving and warm. But touch it once, and light shoots forth from the stillness. It quivers and thrills me, and I know my fate is to show others that this silence, this light, this blessing is my dance. I take this gift only to give it again.
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“Quick, give!” says the light.
As never before, I try to obey, inventing new steps, new gestures of joy. All at once I sense where I am, running back up the hill. The light in my bedroom is on. Seeing it brings me back down. I begin to feel my pounding heart, the drowsiness in my arms, the warm blood in my legs. My cells want to dance slower. “Can we walk a little?” they ask. “It’s been kind of wild.”
“Sure.” I laugh, slowing to an easy amble.
I turn the doorknob, panting lightly, glad to be tired. Crawling back into bed, I remember something that I always wonder at. They say that some of the stars that we see overhead aren’t really there. Their light takes millions of years to reach us, and all we are doing is looking into the past, into a bygone moment when those stars could still shine.
“So what does a star do after it quits shining?” I ask myself. “Maybe it dies.”
“Oh, no,” a voice in my head says. “A star can never die. It just turns into a smile and melts back into the cosmic music, the dance of life.” I like that thought, the last one I have before my eyes close. With a smile, I melt back into the music myself.