Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So, What Makes You Feel Like Dancing?



Can you remember the last time you gave into the urge to dance in the middle of a crowded street? Hmmm. Me neither.

I was drifting pleasantly in that half-dream state, just before waking, knowing that, as soon as I opened my eyes, the door would slam shut on the lovely landscape of sleep, when a new fragment floated to the surface of my almost-consciousness. Concerning a pair of young idealists I'd heard about on the news. It had occurred to them that every day, in expensive hotels the world over, once-used, miniature bars of soap were dumped in the garbage. Because us westerners are very picky, because of, you know, cooties! At the same time they were aware that in Haiti, one of the poorest nations on earth, disease, much of it caused by filth and lack of the means of achieving basic hygiene,is rampant.

Light bulb moment!

What if they could somehow collect all those little discarded bars of soap, sanitize and recycle them and distribute them to the poor of Haiti? They made it happen! Which is why they were on the news. So nice to hear a smidgen of good news once in a while! The news clip showed crowds of Haitian children enthusiastically washing their hands with the recycled soap, and having it impressed upon them that doing this regularly will help to keep them healthy. It is reportedly already having a beneficial effect. Which is great, but not the main point of this post....

The main point is that while they were reporting and the cameras were rolling, showing the eager children scrubbing their hands so vigorously, and the gutters filled with stinking garbage all around, a young girl got caught on camera. She was obviously happy, smiling exuberantly, white teeth flashing in her mahogany face, whirling and dancing in the street for the sheer joy it. And then the camera moved on. But her face stayed with me and followed me into my dreams.

How is it that some of us are elated to be alive, even if we have to live in abject poverty, filth, and disease-ridden misery? Even when our government is so corrupt and unconcerned with providing decent living conditions for its citizens; and others of us, whose governments provide all kinds of services, from sanitation to law and order, from education to justice, to safe living conditions, all we can do is fight and bicker and fail to appreciate our good fortune? How is that, that the haves are so discontented with their abundance, and the have-nots can step over the garbage and dance?

That girl's dazzling smile and joyful dancing will stay in my head for a long time. Maybe it will make me bite my tongue, muffle my petty complaints before they turn into words, or even fully formed thoughts, and make me appreciate the comparative splendor in which I have the good fortune to live!

So, when was the last time you had an irrepressible urge to dance in the street, just for the joy of being alive?

22 comments:

fifi said...

Molly, you are so sweet.

And what a wonderful thing to read.
Why indeed are we born into whatever we are born into? I hate to think t is anything but random. Who knows?

I am prone to sudden outbursts of dancing for no apparent reason. It frightens my children, but I do it anyway. Not sure what triggers this, usually just thinking of something nice right when my mood is on the tip of the happiness peak.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I have to admit that I'm not given to impromptu dancing so much these days . But moments of pure pleasure or delight still abound ....and I hope always will . Walking very early in the morning through a sunlit Amsterdam street wondering what's round the next corner , a breakfast of coffee and croissants on a French terrace , a virtually empty art gallery with time to spare .
Lots of things !

Meggie said...

I recently 'burst into dance' much to my Granddauther's embarrassment! I heard some wonderful music, & couldn't resist!
Why do people look askance at aging plump women who feel the need to rhumba?? haha

persiflage said...

Such a lovely post, Molly.
Today I felt like dancing because my four year old granddaughter was twirling around, and singing as she danced. Song and dance are contagious, and spread pleasure and joy. It is wonderful that there are such sources of pleasure, even when poverty is rife and problems abound.

Pauline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pauline said...

I saw her too and had similar thoughts. I admire people who have brilliant ideas and the wherewithal to make them happen. I twirl sometimes on the playground with my 2nd graders and occasionally I dance in a meadow when no one is looking. That's the extent of my exuberance, however. I may have to change that...

Micki said...

Sometimes joe grabs me and dances with me...that's always fun. I loved your post, Molly!
Micki

jkhenson said...

I'm finally catching up on my favorite blogs. My first "catch up" was your hostage post about your memories-your grandma's farm... Very nice. Then I read this latest post about the things that are important and make us happy. Wow. You are always a great writer and tug at my heartstrings and thoughts. Thank you for the thought provoking post.

jkhenson said...

oh, and my family and worship make me dance! :)

Ali Honey said...

What a wonderful idea....we the ones with so much need to share more....I hate waste so any recycling would be ideal.( I must find out what happens to the little used soaps over here )

I sometimes dance while I'm working, but not in the street lately....will keep it in mind though.

Changes in the wind said...

Great post!

Stomper Girl said...

I have to be having a deeply terrible day to NOT feel like dancing!

rhubarbwhine said...

I dance to 80's music while i do the houework on the weekends. My mop and I are good friends... ;)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Your post and the vision of that young girl dancing for joy despite being surrounded by garbage makes me want to dance.

Yes, we are dreadfully, shamefully spoiled. We never have enough of anything and often put off really living until everything is perfect, except that there is always something else that needs to be done, or acquired. I hope to experience true contentment and dance-in-the-streets joy before I die. Thank you for a wonderful reminder, Miss Molly!

raining sheep said...

Such a good post. I have to admit I felt like dancing in the street, and did, when I completed my marathon last week.

StitchinByTheLake said...

There have been so many magical moments in my life that made me want to dance - the obvious ones when children and grandchildren were born, etc. But the one that stands out in my mind was the first time we helped to build a "casita" for a family in Mexico. At the Blessing of the Home ceremony the smiles and tears of the mother in that family made me want to jump and shout. blessings, marlene

Warty Mammal said...

Great post. So much to think about. If we can figure out what triggers that feeling of pure joy, how do we make it a larger part of our lives?

Children always find a way to play and find joy. In the main, unless we muck with it, they are creatures of joy. In the most devastated, war-blasted landscape, they're there squatting with little more than sticks, dirt, and their imaginations.

I've never been able to throw those little chips of hotel soap away. I always save a baggie or something to wrap them up in and bring them home. Hollis (Chatelain) said she uses them to wash paint brushes.

There's so much waste in this country. One could buid an empire out of what we throw away.

(P.S. My word verification string is "rantiong", which I figure is a combination of "ranting" and "rationing". Appropriate, no?)

silfert said...

I danced all the way to my car after learning the results of a certain two-minute test back in 2007...

My soul dancedafter reading this post.

Warty Mammal said...

Lovely photo of you, by the way.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Well, the Newberys do not possess the dancing gene.

But the soap is a good idea. Not many good news stories about.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I shall dance for the joy of having read this post. Thank you.

AngelDoll said...

Reading your blog made my heart 'dance' with thankfulness. You express yourself very well (and as beautifully as your lovely stitching).
My soul truly danced after reading your blog as it reminded me to BE THANKFUL for all the things we have. Many things we take for granted.
I watched three little Afro American girls nibble on food at McDonald's and I immediately thought of all the billions of children in third world countries who are less fortunate. Thank you for your 'reminder'.
C:
('Happy2Sew' on Flickr).
p.s. You are a wonderful writer.