You and the Dance of Life – Inspired by Walt Whitman and Maya Angelou

Dance of Life
Have you seen the cast of the dance—
The young teacher marching her fourth graders down the hall to lunch?
The big man at McDonald’s, his thick hands stuffing burgers and fries into paper bags?
The three long haired boys rolling down the sidewalk on their skateboards?
The TV weather lady fast firing temperatures, rainfall and the seven day forecast—barely in time for the commercial?
The bald headed guy rushing head down through the rain to his car at the far corner of the lot?

And what is your work—“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.”
― Maya Angelou

Stamping out brackets for car seats?
Serving coffee at the corner cafe?
Cooking for your invalid mother?
Examining a patient’s painful knee?
You too are in the cast and practicing the dance..

But maybe last night you sat and watched the television grind out the news of the day, and you got angry at the thoughtless leaders and then you got angry at everyone’s anger. How could you possibly dance with such difficult partners? And then you got angry at your helpless self and wanted to run and scream—or turn the television to old romantic movies and idly watch beautiful people and happy endings .

And I’m sure your day was busy—
but I hope you slowed your car when you drove by the lake so you could watch the little waves break in ripples on the sand.
I hope you saw the construction worker waiting for a truck, quiet with his thoughts.
I hope you noticed the gray haired man in the bookstore, his footless leg resting on his wheelchair as he sat on the couch and dozed.
And I hope you had time to look up at the vee of honking geese steadily making their way north for summer.
I hope you slowed your step to match the beat of the dance.

Did you cry last month at the funeral of your friend’s friend?
Did your heart swell when the cancer free child grinned from your television set?
Did you chuckle at the silly story your brother told at the family reunion?
Did you follow the steps when life invited you to dance?

Maybe this is you:

It’s quitting time, you are almost done with your project, when the boss steps in and robs you of ten minutes. You manage to smile at him and glance at your fingers resting on the computer keys. Then, on the way home, you go to the grocery store and when you are ready to check out, the line is long and of course you are running late. You feel your brow tighten but you manage a pleasant hello to the lady in front of you. Then on your drive home, when the light turns green, the driver in front of you is staring down—at his phone you are sure—but you calmly wait and glance at an old woman with a walker slowly moving up the sidewalk.

You are learning the finer moves of the dance.

Your are always learning, but that doesn’t mean this is a dress rehearsal.
It’ your one performance.
So when you step out your door into the fierce wind and it parts your hair in flying banners;
When you hold your weeping friend whose spouse has left and you feel hot tears on your neck;
When you cradle a soft skinned newborn child in your hands;
When you have planted the last shrub and put the shovel away and you look up to watch the white clouds scudding across the blue sky—
You are your own star in the magnificent dance of life.

Here are the other pieces I wrote for my series:
Practice Counting
The Maypole and the Lost Dancing Children
Why Does the Dervish Dance?
“Why I Wrote ‘Why Does the Dervish Dance?‘ “

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You and the Dance of Life – Inspired by Walt Whitman and Maya Angelou — 2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Scenes Lit Upon In The Great Cosmic Dance - Spirited Thinking

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