Friday, May 10, 2013


Walking preserves your sanity. So you tie up your sneakers, pop in your ear buds, and around the loop you go.

Well, you think, there are better things that preserve your sanity, but walking is the cheapest. And the most accessible.

You set a good pace--enough to get your heart rate up--one foot pounding the pavement after the other. It's rained, and that means one thing during spring in New England: slugs. You watch where you step.

You stand up straight, shoulders back, moving from the hips rather than from the shoulders.

Before long the music gets to you.

The fact is, you're a dancer. You've always been a dancer. From the time you were little, doing "Red Dances" and "Blue Dances" in the living room, to the time you performed with dance companies much later.

You're a dancer.

Dancing is what preserves your sanity.

But there's no stage and your body is injured and doesn't always do the things you want it to do.

So you walk.

Walk, walk, walk, walk.

Walking is boring. And the music. Oh, the music. Your mind begins choreographing, and in your head you're spinning and twisting, arms and ribs undulating. Your feet are moving, and in your mind, you leap, no longer earthbound. Your pace slackens as your imagination takes over your movement.

A bird calls out, and you are back on a street in your neighborhood, not on a stage somewhere. A street with slugs on it, and ferns unfurling by the roadside. A river flows nearby. And your feet are walking, walking, walking.

There's no one here.

The road is before you.

The road is empty, and wide.

Just like a stage.

It's tempting. So very tempting. One of these days, you're going to do it. You're going to dance down that street like it's nobody's business, with only the trees and the ferns and the lady's slippers and the woodpeckers for audience.

But not today. Today, you're going to walk. Maybe tomorrow you'll dance.

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