This blog, overall, is about small things; snapshots of the things I see around me. Today: a week’s worth (or so) of dances and songs. The rhythm of life as I see it right now.

WEED DANCE: Pulling weeds, the long stems ripped out of their home by my hands. The emptiness of an earth that was disrupted, confused, naked. Other plants will be happier now: the rhubarb may survive another year, the mums may be revived, the tomato plants can now be set into their new homes. But when I first saw the destruction I had willingly caused to the wild tangle of green crawling over green, I felt a slight pang at the loss.

MIDNIGHT DANCE: A night with an unexpected twist in downtown Chicago. This one, a literal dancing. Drawn to the floor by music that made me smile. Eyes, hands, and the whirl of joy. Imperfect music that led to laughter and play. A release. A gift.

MORNING DANCE: A morning when I woke too early because the air was stirring (inside me? outside?). And from that gift came a lovely morning phone chat, watching birds zipping around feeders, the shadows of the sun melting slowly onto the lawn, and movement drawing my eye out to a field. The dance of the strawberry pickers.

SONG OF THE ELDERS: Hang up the phone, grab my money, take a short walk, and I was soon searching out red jewels, only putting one or two in my mouth. (Or maybe more. Secret pleasures!) Eavesdropping on the grandfather/grandson pair in the next row, remembering mornings like this with my own grandparents, years ago. The strawberries keep my grandparents close to my life. Another gift. A song I sang to myself as I discovered each berry.

SONG OF THE PAST, SONG OF THE PRESENT: An evening with a friend, sharing snacks and stories – stories I had buried deep inside, pulling them out and realizing that they had become both more powerful and less so. A connection between then and now. I am still that person, and I am not that person at all. We are more alike than we are different – all of us. And we know this by sharing our stories.

SEARCHING DANCE / SILENT SONG: A walk in the rain, the silence between two people heavy with things unsaid, searching for a new way to walk, to talk. The heart still wants to sing.

CHORUS: The convergence of a community into assistance for a home burned – through laughter, wit, and reflection. People come together. Solidarity in a time of need.

STREET SONG: The woman calling, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” outside my apartment, trying to get the attention of someone upstairs and across the street. Her voice a refrain, a drum, a drone. A reminder that life will not be contained.

Photo by Teresa Pankratz, 2012.

HOUSE SONG / ART SONG: An afternoon and evening immersed in art and stories: houses/homes, windows, memories of fire, and flight. The sound of scissors clipping paper, a toy piano carrying us through hallways, matches struck and blown out. I will take those shavings and make some art of my own. More gifts.

DANCE:  A lot to see, a lot to live, a lot to be. Today, I have snapshots. Today, I notice the songs, the dances, the rhythms of life. Today, I feel grateful.  Today, I continue the dances and songs of my own. Watch out! Those songs and dances are contagious, and before you know it, we’ll all be out there singing and dancing from moment to moment. I just might drag you out there with me, or perhaps you’ll drag me… Or maybe we’re there right now, whirling and singing away.


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