Ah, New Year's.
The chance to officially start again. Granted, I don't wait for that kind of formal opportunity much. I start over all the time.
But last night was Hogmanay, which is one of the great joys of Scottish Dancing for me. Live music (fantastic live music, the kind that makes the dancers 'woot' and clap while dancing, and demand to repeat dances rather than move on to the next one). People I've known since I was 14 gathered in their finery, reconnecting on and off the dance floor, some having come from half way around the world. A lot of young punks I've never met but who are also fired up by the music and the dancing, floundering their way through a dance with determination and that anxious passion that I remember from the same age - there and trying and willing and joyful. And a whole slew of the next generation, some of them now hitting their growth and looking like their near-adult selves, others still tearing around at knee to hip level, and a few babies making their way through dances against someone's shoulder or on a parent's hip.
Ep and I met through dancing. Our courtship was not a courtship (I kind of cornered him - okay, not really 'kind of'), but the cornering I did was possible because of the dancing. He knew me as much through the partnership of the dance as from chatting and hanging out after the dancing was over (sometimes into the morning, crashing at the house that hosted the dance). Some of my boyfriends (most of whom were dancers) were better dancers, but he's up there for skills. And damn, the eye contact ... the man has beautiful eyes.
We haven't danced much in years. Too many conflicts, and kids who would run out onto the dance floor to follow us. Plus knee pain, but I could get around that. Now, the kids are easier to let loose without fear of them causing a train wreck. I can still get through a dance, but I'm way out of shape for it.
Still, I danced with ep last night. We picked an early Strathspey in the program, in case I oped to dance more later.
I didn't end up dancing more later, but it was a good one to pick. There's a part of the dance that has 'space' in it to push the flirt. Eye contact. Showing off the dance skill. Holding 'just that distance' in a turn with no hands around each other, doubling the speed on the turn to loop around an extra time in the gracious space that was left for a slow and stately passage. Timing ourselves one against the other, 'covering' so closely that it is impossible to tell whether he adjusted his timing to mine, or I adjusted mine to his. On the few points where our hands met, getting that read through his whole body, feeling not just his grip but knowing through that the strength of his arm, how that translates through his upper body, down to knowing how stable his footwork is. I'd forgotten that I could tell if the floor was slippery where he was dancing by the information I got through my partner's hand. Pass by and watch his eyes, and pass by again, stretch and reach and matching the length of our steps, coordinating our timing of the figure of the dance to the music, letting the music tell us both what to do.
That's the way to start again.
Music is a huge part of our marriage, but dancing is equally core. Dancing is where I learned who ep was, when he was so quiet and private that talking would have taken three times as long. And dancing always reminds me, without any overlay of whatever challenge we're facing in the logistics of everyday life. Dancing takes us back to just us, in context of our friends and family, in context of our entire history, from the moment I first saw him sitting on the back of his parent's couch at a dance class at their house.
Even with the winces from using muscles again after too much time away, and the intersection of strangers and friends in the pattern of the dance, or maybe because of all that context... one dance with ep as my partner is all it takes to start again, and start again right.
Plus, you gotta love a man in a kilt. Mm, mm.