Long ago I ruptured a tendon in my right ankle and ended up on crutches for 17 weeks. Jody and I went to a New Year’s Eve party that year and after dinner I sat watching couples swing and sway on the dance floor. I love dancing. Jody loves dancing. It was hard.
SunFest started last night. It’s the world music festival in London that’s expected to draw 250,000 people to Victoria Park. Soon after I arrived, I wandered over to the beer garden, where a group from Colombia was moving and grooving. So were about a hundred dancers in front of the stage. I stood just outside the fence and watched. Most of them were young but certainly not all. Pockets of friends grooved together. A fellow in his 70’s dipped and dived to his wife, who moved a bit and smiled a lot. One young woman near me gyrated in a delightfully sexual way, her purse on the ground in front of her. The wild abandon and the sensible caution … sounds like a human being.
The leader of the band told the group to “Get down!” and 200 legs obliged. Then it was hands to the sky. So wonderful to see all those upraised arms – full self-expression. I stood there fascinated. All that energy. All those smiles. What life should be about.
After the Colombian folks were done, I meandered down the paths of crafts booths, knowing that I would make my appearance on the dance floor a bit later. One of the kiosks held some marvelous creations from Bali, Indonesia. And there it hung on a wall … a wooden plaque hand-painted, revealing a human being in full lotus meditation posture, one leg tucked into the other. And in vibrant colours were the seven chakras, or energy centres, in the body. Actually, the crown chakra is above the head. I just stared, and brought out my MasterCard. My heart danced.
Speaking of which, it was time to head back to the beer garden, and to the music of Five Alarm Funk, nine guys from Vancouver sporting a drum set, three guitars, bongo drums, saxophone, trumpet and trombone. Hmm … guess I missed somebody. The music was loud, raucous and so very danceable. So we did. I found myself next to a young woman and her boyfriend. I heard “Hi, Mr.Kerr.” Ten years ago, she was an elementary student at the school where I taught a blind child. It was weird and yet wonderful to dance my heart out next to her. Little kids grow up.
For awhile I threw my arms everywhere, but as the folks packed in tighter, my movements became vertical. I tried moving my feet in a spastic sort of way but I had to stare at them to keep from crushing someone else’s foot. When I mustered up the energy, I bounced for a bit, arms flopping at my sides. Finally, my bodily organs told me to calm down or my days on the planet might be numbered. Come to think of it, my days are numbered, bouncing or not.
I sweated and strained and joyed in living. The folks around me were mostly young and radiant, but there were two fellow grey hairs off to my right. Thank you, God. Thank you, Jody. Thank you, O powers of the universe, for letting me dance again. It’s such a part of me. And hey, maybe during SunFest 2035, it’ll be me and my walker showing those young’uns a step or two!