Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dance Me to the End...

Last night we had a dance "test". Our instructor thought we were good enough to change from the Social Dance program to the "Bronze", or beginning competitive/ advanced social dance level. We had four steps from the new syllabus to perform for the studio manager, then she ran us through some impromptu steps to see how fast we grasped the material. It was slightly nerve-wracking, but it wasn't as if they'd kick us out if we flubbed the steps. (Which we mostly didn't.)

We went to the manager's office afterwards, to look at the proposed new program. In her office was a framed print that knocked me on my butt... it was all I could do not to start sobbing right then and there. It's a beautiful print by English artist Jack Vettriano, called "Dance Me To the End of Love" (yes, inspired by the Leonard Cohen song.)


It's not necessarily a sad print, in and of itself, but the first and last time I saw it was in the hospice where my Dad died this last fall. I spent many hours looking at this picture and pondering the love that my parents held for each other, and how that love would continue after Dad died... this beautiful picture now forever has such strong emotional content (she says with tears dripping off her nose.)

Somehow I held it together, until DH and I were at home. I told him what happened, and the sobs that threatened at the studio hit me like a summer thunderstorm... violent and heated, yet brief and cleansing. He said he saw my face turn white in the office, but thought it was the price of the package of lessons. (Any other day, and that price would have made me turn white, too, but last night I'm fairly sure it was the painting that sucker-punched me.)

I feel I've been living in a place where the fabric between life and death is particularly thin. I am full of hurt from all the losses, both mine and others, past and future. One of my grandmothers has today been diagnosed with kidney cancer that has moved to her lymph system and spine. It doesn't look good.

I leave you with the only song that sums me up right now. The Indigo Girls can always sum me up with a song, and have been my steady companions for 15 years now, no matter the circumstance. (From the album of the same name. I wish you could hear it in it's entirety, but can't find a link.)

"All That We Let In"

Dust in our eyes our own boots kicked up
Heartsick we nurse along the way we picked up
You may not see it when it's sticking to your skin
But we're better off for all that we let in

We've lost friends and loved ones much too young
With so much promises and work left undone
When all that guards us is a single centerline
And the brutal crossing over when it's time

(And I don't know where it all begins)
(And I don't know where it all will end)
(We're better off for all that we let in)

One day those toughies will be withered up and bent
The father, son, the holy warriors and the president
With glory days of put up dukes for all the world to see
Beaten into submission in the name of the free

But we're in a revolution, I have heard it said
And everyone's so busy now but do we move ahead
The planets hurling and atoms splitting
And a sweater for your love you sit there knitting

(Well, I don't know where it all begins)
(And I don't know where it all will end)
(We're better off for all that we let in)

See those crosses on the side of the road
Tied with ribbons in the median
They make me grateful I can go this mile
Lay me down and never wake me up again

Kat writes a poem and she sticks it on my truck
We don't believe in war and we don't believe in luck
The birds were calling to her, what were they saying
As the gate blew open the tops of the trees were swaying

I've passed the cemetery walk my dog down there
I read the names in stone and say a silent prayer
When I get home you're cooking supper on the stove
And the greatest gift of life is to know love.


~V said...

What deep lyrics.

Congratulations on your 'step' up -- are those new shoes worn out yet?

kate said...

Dancing fool(s) if I ever saw some! Congrats on the promotion!
Funny how music always seems to mirror our lives at any given moment. I hope your Gramma fairs easy over the next while.

AlisonH said...

Oh honey! What a beautiful, beautiful photo, and so much to go through at once. Send your grandmother a hug from me, even though she won't have a clue who I am--but we're all in this life thing together.