Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Twenty Second Dance

      I’m standing in frigid running water past my knees. The cold is shocking, but its music soothes, beckons me onward.  I two-step, one-two, moving into position.  This part of the dance is a shuffle, the opening steps in an intricate ritual. Like many dances you start with your feet, then, as the rhythm of water and sound take over, your whole body will move.  Cast and swing, cast and swing working each riffle, finding each rock and eddy.  I work thoroughly across my ballroom in search of a dance partner.  The longer I cast the more relaxed I become, the more natural and beautiful the moves.  Shuffle, cast, swing, strip, shuffle, cast, mend, swing, strip, still in search of a partner.

     I’m no wallflower, all I want is one fish, one dance, one chance to be a part of this moving, swirling room.  You won’t get a partner standing off to the side, staring wistfully at the crowd- you have to wade in, moving to the rhythm, working the floor until you find that one partner that says “Yes, I’d love to”. If you stop, stand in one place, the rhythm is lost. You must keep moving, keep dancing, no matter how foolish you look or feel.  Not every dance is meant to be.  At times you will move from partner to partner, a twenty second dance. She'll leave you jilted and stunned, standing on the dance floor feeling guilty, wondering "What did I do wrong?". If you are the right height, the right build, if your eyes meet just so, if you are well matched, if it's the right song for both, you may just see this one through, move through all the paces, exhausting yourself until the music ends, you dip your partner and take a bow.

     I work my cast, work my space on this floor until finally my line stops.  I lift my rod sharply, taking my partners hand, ready for our waltz.  At first she is still, unmoved, assessing this new suitor.  Then she moves toward me, setting the pace, dancing to her own beat, one that I must follow.  We sway back and forth awkwardly, matching move for move, but some partners are fickle, some things are not meant to be.  It ends as quickly as it has begun, my line goes slack, I drop my arm.   I stand there shaking, breathless from my twenty second dance, like that first time, or the last, that I asked a girl “Will you dance with me?”

18 comments:

  1. It's all about who gets to lead, I suspect. A very nice post, Jason.

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    1. You make a good point Mike. I may have to apply that to my fishing.

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  2. Beautiful and very true. Reminds me of middle school dances...the shame of always looking UP at the girls. No wallflower indeed.

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    1. I was always much better at fishing than dancing, though I was always determined to do both.

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  3. Really enjoyed this. Great piece.

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    1. Thanks Mich. It's one of those cases of a a phrase rattling around in your head for a week.

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  4. I usually end up being that guy dancing on the side lines by himself. Nicely written.

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    1. That's a good thing when fishing, dancing- not so much.

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  5. Very nicely put FA. Another enjoyable read.

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    1. Thanks Howard. I'm going out dancing again today.

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    1. Thanks Wulff. I hope the dancing is good for you where you're at.

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  7. Your imagery is hauntingly perfect.

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    1. I've been losing a lot of fish lately, and the term "twenty second dance" has been rattling around my head lately, until this little bit came spilling out of my head yesterday. Thank you Erin, I really appreciate it.

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  8. What a great analogy...I love it! Never fun to be a wallflower...at least make the attempt to sink or swim! It's all in the presentation. ; )

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  9. There are many dances to be had in life and Fly Fishing is all about the art of graceful steps in presentation, from beginning to end...

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    1. I think it was my lack of grace that scared off my partner the other day.

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