Randy & DanGerry
Rick b&wJeff at micDan b&w close up

I am in the process of doing a lot of dreaming these days. Leaning into long cherished visions of how I always wanted to live, wondering if it is at all possible to let go and really leap. I don’t know if I am standing on the edge of breakthroughs or breakdowns but it can get a little hairy sometimes.

At these moments, when all seems like my life is both breaking open and welded impossibly shut, I have these primal practices that I do to settle myself. I do laundry. I light candles. I make chai tea and breathe in the sweet spicy goodness that is warmth and comfort. I clean closets or sweep the floors. And then, I dance.

I often dance alone to music turned up way loud. Lately, however, there is another way. I am blessed that I have stumbled into a community of musicians who find each other on the weekends. A good Saturday night is a circle of guitars, a bass, a mandolin, a harmonica, maybe a fiddle or viola, some drums and if we are lucky a keyboard or peddle steel. And me, in the corner, dancing.

And it is here, that I touch the edges of that dream life I have always wanted, a life filled with music and authenticity. A life built around a community doing what they love, creating something out of nothing. It is here that I know that all that I ever dreamed of is unfolding, however slowly.

I wonder if they know, these musician friends of mine, how I delight in them. I wonder if they know how their play breaks me wide open in the most unexpected of ways. I wonder if they know how the sweetness of their voices opens up cracks, unsticks, unanchors and feeds me. Can they feel it is my laughter and hugs, the way I make my requests? Or do they simply just think I am their friend who comes to dance, nothing more? Does it matter? I don’t know. I don’t know.

Sometimes the music is transcendental. Sometimes it is just funny. Sometimes it is off, or no one can quite end the song. Sometimes it falls apart in laughter. Sometimes the harmonies don’t work out. Sometimes it just stops. These friends of mine are talented, each of them, but it is not their technical skill that matters. It is the joy, the silliness, the playfulness, the soul, the vulnerability and rawness that touches me. Do they know this? Does it matter? I don’t know. I don’t know.

When they play, the totality of joy and grief and goodness and love seems to unfold. My dance is the only response I can offer. They only thing I can do in the face of such beauty. The only way I know to honor the gift. My dance is my gratitude not only for them, but for my whole world, the good, the bad and the ugly. I am not sure they notice. Not sure, as they eye each other for cues on where to take the song, as they sneak their smokes in the garage, as they pour their tequila, as they move to and from the mic. My dance a gift to them, but is it? Do they receive it, take it in? Does it matter? I don’t know. I don’t know.

These friends of mine
They have lives
They work hard to live them right
And when they laugh it makes me high
They take a trip ten thousand miles
Before they fly…

And when the show is over, how I hope that they discover
The joy that they bring
And I hope that they remember
This bond we have together
And how they love to sing
–Rosie Thomas

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