Saturday, May 28, 2011

bones on the beach

My daughter Liz tells me that she dreamed she lived in a house of bamboo. In the dream, Liz’s Grandmother (my mother, no longer living) visited and told Liz that the house was not really made of bamboo, but was made of her bones. Mom told Liz she didn’t need to be afraid. Because the house was made of her bones, she'd would always be present and there for her.

Liz’s dream story stayed with me as I left from the city where I dance often with the lake and with nature where I find it

When I visited the Pacific northwest (Washington, Vancouver Island) earlier this month, I felt and saw my mother’s bones everywhere. I felt those bones in the red cedar, in the Douglas fir, in carvings in the museums, washed up on the beaches, and in my own body. (The older I get, the more I look like my mother and the more my hands and feet resemble the limbs and roots of a gnarly old tree.)

The rain forest is lovely, wet, and full of evidence that what appears to be dead is fertile, growing, very much alive.

The soil itself is clearly alive, and on more than one occasion the living dirt became my significant other dance partner. In my own practice I danced with the living giants (how could I ignore them?) and I also danced with the “dead” trees who nurse young new plants and critters and fungus and who knows what all else. As I danced I thought how nice it would be to belong here where the dead and the living support and nurse each other.

A message from Momo reminded me “enjoy the nurse logs....they love you too.”

On the beach I found myself face to face and limb to limb with the bones of the Grandmothers, the trees, my significant others. During my dance, I found myself losing balance, struggling, stumbling and awkward before finally curling in their laps. I learned to be quiet and still and to let rare moments of sunshine bleach my bones.

I touch you
I see you
I smell you
I dance with you
I taste you

Your bones are my bones
Living in me now

As I live in you.
As I dance with you.

Thank you trees, thank you grandmothers, thank you Momma, Thank you Momo and all The Others.

music Red Planet by Arborea


  1. I see driftwood beach; wood like bones scattered all over; I see bare feet-soft on splintered woods balancing; stepping into... unknown; one step at a time; I saw clothes blending into environment; shadows dancing on ; contouring ... aesthetic responding to water/wave movement. I long to go to this beach! Thank you, Patricia for this moment of beach and bones!

  2. ah yes, meha thank you for your comment...i too see much of that Patricia and...i see the world now as a HOUSE of is it to live here. to rattle these bones...the ones with and without flesh still attached to them. i see a scrambling toward intimacy--to be in touch-- at first with what could be breakneck speed on the altering driftwood terrain....then slowing to step by step balance & negotiation. then raising energy and relationship, whipping it up (the aesthetic responding that meHa mentioned) riding the waves of rolling wind, water & earth...and the freedom of a babe in the womb....supported on all sides she can float and wiggle there....just beneath the ribcage, held among the iliac crests.

  3. thank you for taking me on your dreamy journey of connection to your grandmothers / ancestral bones... each step connecting, touching the bones of our ancestors... the shadows, the holding... the touching, tasting, hearing, being... and i love how we continue to connect across the miles through this practice (see my 'dancing with heron' drift-log dance - we are soooo connected! something from our dream-time connection???)
    thank you for dancing your bones in your form for us all!
    love XO