It has always been an interest of mine to consider the nuances involved in my encounters with others, those that are nourishing and even those that are more distasteful for some reason. In recent years, my interest has broadened to include encounters with animals, nature, books, movies and now, online conversations with people who I treasure yet may never meet.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dance is in My Soul

A Fanciful short story written for my sister, Marty.

   Once upon a time in a village near the ocean, there lived a female inhabitant named Martinique. Her village was named Allegretto. The village truly lived up to its name for its daily pace was energetic and the villagers went about their daily tasks in the happiest of moods. Though near the ocean, Allegretto was located in a lush valley that was surrounded on three sides by a range of small mountainous ridges. Thus, the villagers were able to maintain a high degree of self-sufficiency. Crops were planted, nourished and harvested then divided into appropriate shares for each family. The remainder was prepared for delivery to the common market. Some inhabitants were building or repairing various structures whereas others were busy at the forge, making the tools necessary to get their jobs done. Another group was out on the ocean since fis hing was one of Allegretto’s main industries. Some of the more recent inhabitants’ hiking and mountain climbing endeavor was even attracting folks that lived in far-away places.
   Allegretto was a fascinating place to visit. It had one aspect, however, that made this village even more unusual. Now some might think that this is because it was the closest village to the mighty ocean. Being close to the ocean is certainly worth a moment of envy. Yet there is an aspect of Allegretto life that is worthy of the highest esteem. The reason relates to an unusual education component for their children. All villages provide education, of course. All children are taught such basics as language and counting skills for villages thrive when their folks can communicate well with each other and do the counting kinds of tasks that keep common goods on an equally shared level. Most children in the surrounding villages also learn to play some kind of musical instrument for music is viewed as a form of communication, speaking more into the hearts of all inhabitants which served to bring on a sense of unity.
   In Allegretto though, one can become awed when observing a most fascinating kind of class. As one of the tallest women in the village, Martinique caught the eyes of most visitors. When she was observed while teaching this unusual class, most visitors became quite spellbound for her movement around the children conjured up visions of such woodland folk as fairies in flight. Rarely were fairies able to be observed by inhabitants. It took more time and patience for such visions than most inhabitants could garner. Martinique, however, was as unusual as the class that she taught.
   When she was just a child, Martinique excelled at every task that was put before her. She completed her language and counting classes, and even the everyday chores, with such ease that there was extra time available for her to explore the nearby forests and beaches. Martinique loved the smell of the ocean and would spend time collecting shells and other interesting artifacts that the tides left upon the shore.
   One test-taking day, little Martinique completed her tests so quickly that she had almost the whole day to explore. It happened to be one of those very sunny days so Martinique decided to have a vigorous swim. As she romped in the ocean’s waves, some playful dolphins joined her for a while in some wave surfing. After one huge wave tumbled her about a little too vigorously, Martinique decided to have a rest and enjoy the sun’s warmth. It was while sitting on the shore observing the antics of some sea birds that she had a moment of epiphany. The birds seemed to be flying down to the waves then zipping back up to the sky, over and over. “They seem to be playing with the waves,” Martinique said out loud. “I wonder if these birds feel as wonderful as I do when I am playing in the waves!  Who else plays together in such fun?”
   With this thought, Martinique began to notice the feel of the ocean’s breezes on her cheek and how the ends of her hair were lifted up and from side to side in concert with the wind. She looked up then at the trees that stood near the edge of this beach. “The trees are playing in the wind, too,” she thought. Smiling, Martinique stood up, held out her arms and began to mimic the way that the tree limbs would dip down, swirl and fly up as the wind caught them in different ways. Martinique yelled and laughed in glee with the waves, the birds, the trees and the wind.
   Exhausted at last, Martinique fell down beneath the trees and just laid there in absolute joy and contentment. Breathing deeply, she continued to watch the trees move in tune with the wind. All of a sudden, her eyes caught a sparkling flicker of some kind of flying creature. At first she thought that the creature was just a small fast-moving bird. When the creature, however, landed upon her raised knee, Martinique became breathless at the sight of a beautiful woodland fairy. Now, here’s something to know about fairies. They communicate through thought to each other and to other creatures who notice them. So it was that Martinique heard the fairy’s thought, “Come with me.”
   Without consideration, Martinique stood up and, though on shaky legs, began to follow the fairy on a seemingly haphazard path through the woods that began to wind its way up and up and up even more. Near the top of a ridge that contained a fall of water, the fairy settled onto a large rock. Martinique was enthralled for she could see everywhere, the beach and village down below and the forests all around. “I came because you called to me,” the fairy said in thought. “‘Dance’ is the term that forest and beach creatures use to describe their play with each other. I am called ‘Dancer’ because the movements of all other creatures call my spirit into dance. Your movements in concert with the dance of the birds with the waves and the trees with the wind called me to you. I brought you here so that you could more fully understand my meaning. Look around you.”
   Martinique took a deep breath as her eyes settled upon the rushing dance of splashes of water as it cascaded down the cliff, dancing up in seeming glee upon all the rocks and making the nearby bushes sway to and fro. “They are dancing!” she thought. She jumped up, clapping her own hands in glee, moving around and around. “I’m dancing!” Martinique shouted out loud and just let her body go, with no hesitant restraint. She ran to the branches of a nearby tree, running her hands through the leaves as she turned around and around. Then danced on to another tree, some bushes and even a fuzzy caterpillar got some attentive movement.  As she was swaying to and fro around this caterpillar, Martinique began to realize that Dancer was also moving in sequence with her. Every movement that she took, Dancer did also. “We are dancing together!” Martinique shouted with glee. Dancer’s own laughter, though silent, was echoed all around them as each aspect of flora and fauna seemed to come to life with abandoned movement.
   After a whirl of dancing around with all of the forests’ inhabitants, Martinique needed to catch her breath. Dancer settled next to her and sent another thought. “You, too, are a dancer. Dance is in your soul and has now been called forth into expression. You will find your way into a Purpose as you move towards being an adult. From this day forth, every aspect of life will be seen by you as a dance and you shall teach this to others.” With that, Dancer began a fluttering kind of exaggerated dance movement and, with a final flicker of her wings, disappeared.

   This is the story that Martinique tells to those who are interested enough to listen.
Some tell others that she is simply a dance teacher. Some visitors tend to look with disdain at her adult class, whispering out loud that such a class is simply a waste of good time, that there are more important things to be done. These visitors are ones that don’t have a sense of vision, however, for if Martinique were to observe them as they go about their daily pursuits, she would classify their movements as dance. “We all dance,” she tells her classes as she takes them on outings to observe villagers at their work. “Plowing a field, harvesting a crop, hammering a nail, cooking a meal, washing the clothes and even diapering a baby are done with movement. All movement is dance and, if one can see their movements as dances instead of just work, they will have more enjoyment of these kinds of tasks.”
   Martinique is not concerned with those who criticize or see her with disdain. She is too busy enjoying the freedom that she feels inside her soul. She still takes many walks up into the mountains, pausing often to rest and observe the many instances of dance that occur in the forest around her. “Even those creatures who allow others to eat them for sustenance are engaged in a dance,” Martinique thought to herself one day as she saw a bird swoop down to grab a caterpillar that had climbed out of hiding behind a leaf onto a swaying limb. “Perhaps I shall continue to dance even beyond the time that my body is laid down to rest forever.” This thought brought Martinique back up to her feet and she kicked her heels up in glee then bumped her hips up against the tree under which she had rested. “Of course I shall,” she said aloud. “Dance is in my soul.”


  1. A breath of fresh air to read your story Dody. I could visualize Martinique in a place like Martinique. The island breezes and beauty of nature came back to me as I read your story. Living in the now and enjoying the present is so crucial.We tend to forget this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Dody, thanks for sharing this wonderful story! I enjoyed Martinique's vitality and her hopeful outlook on life. I look forward to reading more of her and Dancer's adventures. Hint, hint... :-)

  3. Loving these fanciful short stories:) Simply magical.