Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Humpbacks- by Mary Oliver

Last night's dance was as delicious as always, always different. I suppose partly because when I show up, I too am different each time. I had a headache before going and was hesitant about whether I should just sit the night out and stay home. I am so glad that I chose to go. I arrived early, having beat the traffic, and got to be the one to select the line that we would all share the dance with. I blindly picked the hidden line "longing to fly while the dead-weight bones." I just loved the line. How could I not. It spoke to me deeply as it always does, maybe even more deeply than usual. Feeling weighted down with life as it happens, worrying about my mom and her health and feeling like I want to have the power to "fix it" to make things different from what they are, yet knowing that this is not possible, nor is it within my power. The weight of family worry, health worry, is so heavy that it is palpable inside and outside my body. I long to let go of the many emotional restraints that feel like dead weights on my limbs. To let go, surrender to what is and to be able to release and fly regardless of what is happening in life. The longing to be able to change what is, and the wisdom to know the difference between what I have the power to change and what I have to learn to accept. It seems as though the lines go deeper and deeper into my soul, and seem increasingly relevant to me. I am always surprised... yet not really. I have come to know and love the poetry and the dance, and how they dance with each other, and then how they invite me into their dance. I felt very rooted and strong and heavy in the dance, yet for some reason, the heaviness did not feel paralyzing like I thought it would.  The music and the words began to increase in their pace and depth, moving me, lifting me, into an ever growing powerful dance with a certain growing lightness. The lightness was a powerful lightness. I felt less like I was fighting the movement and more like I was being lifted by it. I felt full, rich. I left with a decidedly lighter, more empowered, unencumbered feeling. How healing the dance is to me. 
I both feel as if I have been dancing my entire life, yet wonder how I ever survived before I began Ecstatic Dance less than four years ago? It heals me and helps me in ways that words can't begin to describe. Sometimes you can know it, identify it, sometimes you can feel it, and sometimes you have to just dance the unknowing of it. Oh how I love to dance!!

"There is, all around us,
this country
of original fire.
You know what I mean.
The sky, after all, stops at nothing so something
has to be holding
our bodies
in its rich and timeless stables or else
we would fly away.
Off Stellwagan
off the Cape,
the humbacks rise. Carrying their tonnage
of barnacles and joy
they leap through the water, they nuzzle back under it
like children
at play.
They sing, too.
And not for any reason
you can’t imagine.
Three of them
rise to the surface near the bow of the boat,
then dive
deeply, their huge scarred flukes
tipped to the air.
We wait, not knowing
just where it will happen; suddenly
they smash through the surface, someone begins
shouting for joy and you realize
it is yourself as they surge
upward and you see for the first time
how huge they are, as they breach,
and dive, and breach again
through the shining blue flowers
of the split water and you see them
for some unbelievable
part of a moment against the sky —
like nothing you’ve ever imagined —
like the myth of the fifth morning galloping
out of darkness, pouring
heavenward, spinning; then
they crash back under those black silks
and we all fall back
together into that wet fire, you
know what I mean.
I know a captain who has seen them
playing with seaweed, swimming
through the green islands, tossing
the slippery branches into the air.
I know a whale that will come to the boat whenever
she can, and nudge it gently along the bow
with her long flipper.
I know several lives worth living.
Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will ever dazzle you
like the dreams of your body,
its spirit
longing to fly while the dead-weight bones
toss their dark mane and hurry
back into the fields of glittering fire
where everything,
even the great whale,
throbs with song.
~ Mary Oliver ~
When Meshi read the entire poem to us after the dance, another line breached out of the poem, so to speak, and touched my soul~~

"I know several lives worth living.
Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will ever dazzle you
like the dreams of your body,"

I will have to remember this line and try to dance it more in my life.

1 comment:

Sparks of Spirit Glass said...

Sorry to hear that your mom is ailing. So happy for you that you still have a mom to talk to! Mine passed away about 19 years ago.

I remember that sense of powerlessness.....wanting to erase her pain, help her feel whole, make her smile.

Inevitably, our bodies fail us.....but if we have lived well, our song/poem will outlive us.

Best wishes to you and your mom!