Echoes Life Gives Up

dance family story

Holding her takes on greater power every day, not for her but for me. I can feel her relaxing into me, I can feel that she knows everything is going to be OK because she’s in Papas arms. She becomes lighter then, so do I. That her body trusts me, can fall into me, is a great treasure I do not take for granted.


This grace is contrasted by her recent discovery that she can scream like the gates of Hell opening. She wields her ability with no discrimination, the appearance of Elmo receives the same sonic-boom-boom-cry as an urgent request for more food. Not yet in possession of words, she has learned to say “I want” the best way she knows how.
Some days we awaken to screams, followed by screams, only to be met with more screams. She frightens the dogs, chickens and the neighbors, I lose more hair – its already grey. Mama manages to survive the brunt of the sound storm throughout the day, God only knows how.
One sure cure is to pick her up or slip her svelte 28lbs into our Ergo carrier. Most days I think she is wearing me, not the other way around. That usually quiets her, though the odd scream is now delivered directly into the ear canal. I never thought I would welcome deafness with such gratitude.
We joke about it, Terry and I, hostages giving each other comfort: “I’ve scheduled our ear removal surgery for tomorrow, early enough for you?” Still, even when our nerves are in a shambles, we always know we hit the jackpot with both our kids. We are so blessed, even with our deafness (especially with).


I started dancing at dawn every morning when our son Tadg was smaller than her, he and I strapped together in our first Ergo carrier. That practice has halted and started/halted and started over the years. Recently I went back to read the notes I made after dancing each morning. Remembering the fires of Santa Cruz, moving to our new land. Dancing with trauma, dancing with baby, dancing with the dawn with its infinite faces.
It all brings me back to the power of snake. Snake because we are our spines in so many ways. Snake because Saint Patrick could never drive away the wildness of an Irish spirit. Snake because we are water. Snake because of eggs for the Goddess. Snake because she/he seduced Eve and made her wise. Snake because its power is to eternally remake.
Since that time we’ve moved to the land and its moved into us. Since then I’ve totaled one car and slashed my foot with a chainsaw. Since then my Dad died. Since then we have become a foster home. Since then, her.
I danced with her in the Ergo the other day, she did not like it. “Gaaaaaaaaaa,” she screamed as she reached toward the ground – to freedom. He didn’t mind it, in fact he seemed to derive peace from the gentle, circling ride I gave him. When she is outside she wants to run, to be close to chickens and cats and dogs but not people much. She needs to be free.
Last night she saw a movie with wild horses running across an open range. She screamed with amazement. What a world! There are creatures that embody the freedom she already craves. She will run like a wild colt! I asked our son if he’d like to live in a place with wild horses and endless acres to play in. “YES!” Papa don’t run so fast anymore. Wish us luck.
My dawn dance ritual has become the loom for all of my life’s tributaries. They flow together and separate, punctuated by change that later reveals itself to be just echos of something that started long ago. A snake undulates throughout it, never still.

From a blog post on dawn dance: “Dance requires that you always be willing to shed you skin, to be remade anew. I often think of dance as just that and nothing else, the process of being remade.”

Children remake us too, working in deeper grooves, preparing us to one day give up our lives so they will have their time. For now we work together at our loom, rising at dawn when I dance, Mama tries to catch up on sleep, he dreams of riding stallions, and she practices running free.

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