The wood stove has taken up much of my time this week. The temperatures have been frigid for even Vermont. Our home lacks central heating but is certainly spacious, meaning the stoking has been a constant, full-body affair. The man was not feeling well earlier this week but the pipes needed tending post-freeze, the babies needed chasing, and Chicago needed a choreographer to get her act together. My hands are dry and cracked from carrying loads of wood into the house and after returning home with my toddler from the Dance Team's first performance of the season at a basketball game around 10pm last night, the rest of me wasn't in stellar shape either.
But I did find enough energy this morning to stumble out of the house and meet two women who also brought their breakfasts with them for our 9am dance date at the studio in town. Dancing adventures with Thomasena and Ally are like mountain-climbing in Vermont during autumn. It rarely lets you down, even in the rain. These two ladies bring their open-hearted energy and willing bodies and together we dive, tackle, touch, laugh, investigate, play, and make. It's like waking up and finding someone already holding out a mug of hot chocolate to warm yourself up with...
This morning was full of intimacy as we nurtured our improvisational selves with some contact dancing and ran around to good music. We bring our fully textured selves to the space, carrying whatever we take with us in (motherhood, school, jobs, love, lack of showers), sometimes indulging in it and sometimes letting it rest, and spend a couple hours moving with vigor and curiosity.
I'm a better person to be around after these dance dates. These sweet escapades into art and bonding leave me more loving towards the people I may have given sass to earlier in the morning. Finding dance-mates in small-town Vermont can be as hard as finding a really good partner to make your babies with, but somehow I got it good all around and I try to let them all know how much I appreciate them. I'm inspired by the ways the people I spend my days with (other teachers, parents, kids, business owners, community members, people trying to make ends meet) find these opportunities for respite. There are singers and readers, poets and knitters, skiers and yogis all around who disappear into brief interludes of creative, energetic exploration and come back ready to boost us all in their enthusiasm.
How do you find your respite? How does your respite give back?