February 9, 1966
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Did you ever dream of being a ballet dancer? Or maybe any kind of dancer? I don’t know how they can stand on their toes that way. I can’t. And wonder why they started wearing those stiff little circle? Was it so they might look like a spinning top?
I’m no dancer. I can’t stand on my toes. I can barely spin once without falling flat. I look like a clumsy clown trying to dance. But in my imagination I can dance.
You know how Aunt Love is most always not too happy with me, but then sometimes she surprises me. Take the time she told me this in one of those books, Scent of Lilacs, written about my Hollyhill adventures last year. This is a talk we had right after she told me about the man she loved getting killed in the First World War. Sometimes what you don’t know about people can matter a lot. Anyway if you read this you’ll know why I’m thinking about dancing.
After Aunt Love told me about her lost love, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t hug Aunt Love. I never hugged Aunt Love. It might give her a real heart attack if I did. So I just put my hand on her shoulder and said, “I’m sorry.”
Aunt Love covered my hand with her own. Her skin felt dry and scratchy like oak leaves in the fall. “You should give thanks every day for the blessing of a kind and good father. You and Tabitha both.”
“I do,” I said.
Aunt Love pushed my hand away and picked up her teacup. “Now get on with your chores.”
As I went out the door, I looked back at Aunt Love. Imagining her young and in love was almost impossible. But just because I couldn’t imagine it didn’t mean it wasn’t true. Or that the memory of it didn’t still make Aunt Love sad. I wanted to say something make her feel better, but I didn’t know what. I couldn’t very well say maybe Aunt Love would forget about it the way she forgot other things and then she wouldn’t have to be sad. She hadn’t forgotten it in fifty years. That memory was probably stuck in there with the Bible verses.
A Bible verse might help, but all I could think of was one of the Beatitudes. I decided to try it. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
Aunt Love looked around at me. “”To every thing there is a season. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.’ It’s your time to dance, Jocelyn.”
“I can’t dance,” I said.
And this is where Aunt Love said something really nice to me. She said, “You dance every day to the tune of life.”
And so I’ve been thinking about what she said and how she said I was dancing to the tune of life. Sometimes like an awkward camel. Sometimes like a sleek gazelle. Sometimes the steps are easy and sometimes they are way too hard. But the dance of life goes on and that’s the way it’s supposed to.
I didn’t get any of Bailey’s Bug written this week. I’ll be sure to add a scene next Monday if I’m not too busy dancing.
Do you like thinking about life as a dance?