It is the first day of summer. Sitting in our seats we hear instructions for what is to come, The Circle Dance. With the instructions complete we leave the “box” that is the classroom, and follow the nervous chatter and laughter that escapes from our throats, racing before us like children to the place of the dance. When we catch up with the sounds of our nervous inner child we form a circle; taking care to make the circle perfect; making sure we are able to see each and every person in the circle; making sure we can see “our people.”
With a perfect circle formed, “I” close my eyes and prepare for what is to follow. My mind clears and my heart beats. I hear the wind singing its song for all who take the time to listen and for those too busy to hear. Off in the distance a squirrel chatters laughter as it climbs a tree and a bird chirps and joins in the wind’s song. I begin to hear my heart beat and feel the tremors of blood that flow from it to carry life to my body. I have been here for an eternity of a few seconds when I hear the singers hand slid in a circle over the drum and then it begins. The life connection between the spirit of the drum, the drummer, the singer and the dancers is made. The drum beat is sent to the heavens and our ears, the tremors reach our bodies, join the tremors from the beat of our own hearts and flow with the life giving blood to every part of our soul. Bend, step, slide in perfect unison and repeat and repeat and continue around the circle to the beginning. The drummer begins to chant as we take our journey to the beginning and our journey into ourselves. A feeling of calm and community spreads through our bodies, as the warm of the morning sun spreads across the Earth. Bend, Step, Slide…hear, feel, rejoice.
I must fall out, my knee is failing and when I am encouraged to return to the circle and dance I hear a member of “My” community speak for me, “He had knee surgery,” and no more is said. The circle closes in respect of the dance and they continue. I feel they are dancing for me because I cannot. I remember the lesson, “I dance for the young because they watch me. I dance for those who can’t because I can. And I dance for the Elders to honor them.” So, the dance continues.
I sit, close my eyes, feel the drum, listen to the chant and see “My” people in my mind…Bend, Step, Slide, and the circle continues once again to the beginning. The chant stops, one loud beat and the dancers stop…for now.