and then we dance is a novel project inspired by living and working in South Africa in post-Apartheid years. A story told on multiple levels reveals how the Indian Act in Canada was used as a design template when Apartheid was implemented in South Africa in the 1950’s.
Exerts from and then we dance:
“I still need ta learn just how to come down from the mountain and make it all work in my daily life, in the valley as it is,” Grey smiled in earnest to his words, “But I get closer each time.” Elle reached for his hand. “And once I learned to embrace Elle’s sweat wisdom and live with the understanding that everyone is doing the best they can with the awareness they have, I learned to humble myself and looking for the good in everyone. It is always there, sometimes buried deep in anger or pain or addiction, but still its is there. And if I am judging others without walking a mile in their moccasins, I am just expressing that which I don’t like in myself. It’s a simple philosophy to live by, but it sure works wonders for happiness, which is, I reckon what we are all after, isn’t it?”
“This is the feeling I’m talking about…The no-thinking, all-feeling, no-hesitation flow sensation. That is what I mean by ‘IT’!” Joop spoke emphatically, such that little misty drops of spit projected out of his mouth. He meant it. Really meant it.
Erika simply smiled at him. She found him cute when he got serious about something, and threw himself into an evangelical rant. They had just reached the summit on skis. Erika was teaching Joop to ski, and he was spewing about the Tao.
“I mean this is what it is like climbing…the world disappears and all that exists is what you can see, feel, hear, and smell around you. You become one hundred percent in the moment…and that is ‘IT’ …that is spiritual perfection, what every action in every moment is aiming toward.” His words flowed fast like creeks converging in her ears.
“Well, my dear maniac, let’s see how you can transform this spiritual perfection into some consecutive turns, this time.” Erika took the skins off her skis and went about her pre-descent rituals. Joop followed suit and continued on his fanatical soliloquy, “Life is not about working all your life to accumulate assets and burrow yourself into a little corner of suburbia so you can retire at sixty-five and play golf for a week before you have a heart attack and your children fight over the inheritance. Life is about wringing the rag dry…squeezing all the juices out of this mortal coil of oscillating molecules we call a body. Finishing the dessert and licking the bowl spotless. Life is about picking the fruit and eating it right there in the orchard. This is IT. The rush, the electrical tingle you feel all over. Our bodies are wired for a passionate existence, not the sedentary deflation of breathing forced air in high rises like some tower of Babel away from the natural world. By being present in each moment we can escape the Babylon bondage and be free to be freaky. That is why this feels so good.…so right.… standing on a summit amidst the natural landscape, sculpted by wind, water, and time. I imagine that simply existing on a day-to-day basis was enough meaning for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. That is why it feels so absolutely fantastic to use our bodies like this and take some risks…this is what we are biologically equipped for…our sense of meaning comes from surrendering to the great unknown and simply surviving within it.” Joop’s words jammed like cars in gridlock traffic, his sentences aggressively merging on each other without yielding, flowing from the source of passion within him.
Clunk clunk, Erika stepped into her bindings while looking at Joop, amused. “Nice view, eh?” she said casually, as she set off down the slope.
Grey followed Elle through the door, bag in hand, both moving with grace through the space, faces garnished in smile. Turing his head to see, Joop managed to reflect the smile for an instant, but then fell back into dread as he had made a habit in that hospital bed. Elle walked over, kissing his forehead, and tried hug him. Joop closed his eyes to avoid showing emotion. Never show your pain, his pathological pattern spoke through him. Grey grabbed his hand, “Howzit boet,” he added, lingering by the bed. Elle opened the bag and began to pull out her deer hide drum, various smaller bags, and an ornate eagle feather fan. Looking deep into Joop’s eyes, now open, Grey spoke again, “Don’t question this Joop, just leave yourself wide open.” He held his gaze to make the statement stick. After a protracted pause of soul staring and stirring, Grey went to the door slipped a wedge into the jam to bar entry. Elle pulled out various stones, bones, and crystals placing them on and around Joop, reassuring him with her wondrous way, serene smile and elegant eyes to the fear he felt. Grey went to the rooms one window, opening it fully. Elle placed an apple size rose quartz over his heart, and smaller stones in each hand. An amethyst rested on his head, over the third eye. She created a medicine wheel of stones on him