We swirl and spin, dance together, play off each other, learn, grow. Together, we develop into more than we ever were, more than we ever could have been. The community makes us more.
Until it doesn’t.
A few members start missing steps- subtle, barely noticed. Someone begins to improvise. A handful of people start playing their own song, and several dancers switch to their rhythm. Two songs, five rhythms, three- no four melodies now, movement, noise, lights.
Sounds swirling together and breaking apart- a storm at sea. Bodies jumping, striding, flailing, floating- waves, surf, splash, whirlpools. My raft cannot withstand the storm and it breaks.
Clinging to driftwood, torn to shreds. Stay with the others and risk the storm? Or drift away and hope for a harbor? Exhausted, I collapse.
Wake up on the shore, trusty driftwood raft remnant with me. Silence, but not- birds, tiny waves, wind in the leaves. Isolation, but not total- animals on the island and whispers of voices drifting in on the surf. Peace. Sanity.
Memories of the dance, of when I belonged, of when I sank in the chaos. Memories of friends and community, of truth and truths, of agreement and dissonance, of understanding and illusion.
Hard to contain the universe in a thimble. Trying anyway, but spilling drops on my fingers, losing fragments to my clumsiness.
Fight the hopeless fight. Ignore the inevitable. Believe in the army coming at first light on the third day. Drop my watch so I won’t know how many days it’s been. Press on until I collapse in the sand.
Then rest. Breathe. Let the sea water lap against my hair. Breathe. Feel the sun on my skin. Breathe. Breathe.