I love to dance. Moscow just finished its 29th annual Rendezvous Music Festival which is 3 nights in a row of outdoor music and dancing. Some folks complain that it is expensive, but if you look at it terms of annual entertainment expense all crammed into one weekend, it is the best bargain around. We get up and coming bands, they have energy and want to please the crowd, and the community of Moscow responds. Kids with glow sticks hop around, teenagers dance in a mass, parents do all that old folk dancing that so embarrasses their children. The night wears on. Kids are on parent shoulders, couples are arm in arm….and teenagers dance with their parents. This community loves to dance.
I love to dance. Dancing is a conversation without words. It can be an intimate conversation between 2 people, a giggling gaggle of friends, or the writhing mass of the whole community. It is connection, playful connection….and it does not require words.
This was my first Rendezvous without Jim. Did I miss him? Well, of course. Remember, I miss him everyday. Jim fell in love with me on a dance floor in Bend, OR. It was a crowded cowboy bar, he wanted to impress me with his swing dance ability, but there was no room. I grabbed him close and tangoed with him through the crowd. I guess he decided then that I was goofy enough to spend the rest of my life with him. Jim and I loved to dance.
When Jim and I married, we wrote our own vows, and designed our own ceremony. One of the songs was “‘Tis a gift to be simple.” I grew up with very different words to that melody, and knew of it as, “Lord of the Dance.” The words were: “Dance, dance, wherever you may be, I am the lord of the dance said he, and I lead you all, wherever you may be, I’ll lead you all in the dance said he.” Both sets of lyrics made it into our wedding ceremony. God….in whatever form you choose to believe…is present when people dance.
When my sister died, there was one song I played over and over. It was Jackson Browne’s “For a Dancer”. As I danced this weekend with my son, these words came to me as well. “Just do the steps that you’ve been shown, by anyone you’ve ever known, until the dance becomes your very own. No matter how close to yours another’s steps have grown, in the end there is one dance you’ll do alone.”
I spent some time this weekend visiting a friend who is nearing the end of his life. He asked about Rendezvous, and made me promise to never retire my red Converse. I danced with folks this weekend that will be leaving town at the end of the summer, and all of my son’s friends are now the gaggle of teenagers and not the shoulder riding, glow stick wearing kids. At one point I realized that by this time next year, someone in that crowd will have died. Someone will be mourning what feels like an unfair and untimely loss.
Life, in all its bittersweet glory, goes on. Let’s dance. I love to dance. It doesn’t require words.