01 August, 2009

dance lesson

The first thing to remember is that it's brief, over before you know it. The undeniable truth is still that: this just doesn't last very long. And even if you are lucky enough to get some borrowed time, it might not include everything you have today. Like an invitation to dance. To find ways of moving together, perhaps not in unison, but at least in love. We take so much for granted, and then it's gone, and we can't get it back together again. Like Humpty Dumpty.
There is a fleeting series of present moments, the frames of a video clip. And when you add them up, you have a story. A young woman struggles with her identity. Talented, energetic, skilled in so many different areas she cannot choose easily how to shape her life. Her priorities shift like the landscape she inhabits. Her aging grandfather watches her evolution, her growing pains, he sees her pain, he has advice but he cannot live her life for her. He knows he may not even witness much more or her process. And his cataract surgery has literally opened his eyes to the beauty and wonder he had been missing. Out of practice, out of shape, he asks her to dance. Something easy, and not terribly aerobic: a waltz. Then, a rumba. A few minutes at a party, with his grand-daughter's friends. He had spent the day with his dying brother-in-law. His hunger for contact, for meaning, has grown out of that meeting. Maintaining the quality of one's life, savoring each moment, each sensation, each joyful exchange. This dance was a rare gift on a beautiful, sunny first day of August, almost 26 years to the day of his grand-daughter's birth, ...the beginning of good-bye. An opening of heart. Alleluia, Amen.

1 comment:

Beth H. said...

You have such an amazing ability, Julie, to focus a clear, clean, crystalline beam on a situation that it is rendered heartbreaking on multiple levels simultaneously. Sometimes, I don't so much read your writing as feel it, sense its utter truth in my bones. And I'm not sure I can think of a better compliment to offer a writer.

On a more mundane level: This entry is so very, very rich and multi-hued it feels to me like it wants to be bigger. Not necessarily longer, because part of your gift is your deft, sparse touch, but perhaps the anchor of a larger whole?

Finally, on a personal level: How can you stand, bearing witness to such beauty in your (admittedly grown) child and letting it out of the house, across the street, and into the world? You are brave and loving indeed.