Monday, March 17, 2014

Vancouver Weekend

At what point am I too honest on here?
Am I too open?

Here we go. Gushing again.

This weekend, I got off the island.

On Saturday, five of us packed into Sofia's tiny '94 Suzuki and set out down the hill to catch the 6 o' clock ferry to Horseshoe Bay. It was time for my first night away from the island in a few weeks. Before Bowen Island, the longest number of consecutive nights I'd spent in one bed this year had been 6 nights in my parent's home in Washington state. I've now been here for over four week. Four weeks in the same bed.

And now, I felt like I was on the move again, even if just for one night. What made this trip a bit different then just about any trip I've had in the past year was that I was going with a group of people, it wasn't just me hunkering down in a new bed for the night.

The main event of the weekend was a contra dance that was to be held in Vancouver that night, from 8 to 11 PM. For me, though, it wasn't just the dance that was drawing me. I was promised re-connection with a community I've had 3-4 year long love affair with and a few moments with some humans I am very, very fond of.

Don't get me wrong, I love L'Abri. But there's something different about a community where almost no one knew me before four weeks ago. Even though we spend a lot of time together, even concentrated time together can't make up for the years it can take to develop a friendship that goes through multiple seasons.

I'd been feeling down at L'Abri, lately, and haven't known how to shake it. I was sort of hoping that contra could bring out the Mägi that I know is there. I wanted to laugh and smile and wiggle and connect and shout with joy.

Upon arriving, I knew I was in the right place. Jane was there at the door and, from there on, life was full of solid hugs and so much love.

Karen pulled me in to the center of the circle to demonstrate a swing for the new dancers and, as we started to spin, I spotted Hannah and Sky walk in! Oh. My. Goodness. It had been way too long since I had seen those two. Hannah had drive up all the way from Lopez Island for this dance and to see me and Sky. I love that human so much. She ran into the circle for a hug and soon, Sky was in there too. So good. So good.

I pulled on my black garden glove and the dance began. The glove was to protect the second degree burns I had on my right hand that had turned into blisters that had popped that day. I wanted to make sure my hand was safe from too much foreign sweat, germs, and getting pulled on. People aren't expecting to dance with someone who has a burned hand when spinning down the line.

My first partner was Frank the Fish, an older-than-me-man that I've named for his collection of fish shirts. I always shout, "FRANK THE FISH!" when I see him and he shouts back "MAY-GEE!" and it makes us both grin. I love dancing with him. That night, I also danced with Sky, Jessamy, Nelson, Hansel, Tim, Hannah, Abi, and this one man that made me super uncomfortable (I wish I had told him so. I wish. It's hard. Stupid inappropriate humans! I have danced long enough to know what is wrong and this was wrong wrong wrong). I waltzed with Hansel (Ian) and Tim.

Collectively, a very, very satisfying night.
I was me. I was alive. I felt so free.

Coming with me from L'Abri were Jessamy (Australia), Marianne (Georgia/West Africa - Benin), Sofia (Argentina/Canada), and Tim (one of the Carolinas and already experienced in contra) - a jaunty crew I felt honoured to dance alongside. They did a beautiful job picking up the dances and interacting with the community. It brought me delight to see them progress throughout the night.

I sat out one contra with Hannah and we skittered up the balcony for a quick catch-up. I'm excited for her to come visit the Canadian L'Abri for a few days at the end of March. She did three months at the English L'Abri back in 2012. She also let me in on a potential opportunity on Lopez Island in April. I'm definitely down for spending some time there in the Spring (which starts in just three days!).

My face, once again, felt like what it feels like when your cheeks hurt from smiling.

After the dance, we packed six of us into the tiny-car, clown-style, for the drive to Abi's home. I know Abi from some sort of dance a few years ago. This human is someone I'm always pleased to spend time with! Sigh. So grateful for their hospitality. Also hosting us was Lydia! Once again, I am so grateful.

Back home, I got what I had really, really been craving - a partner dance to a sweet tune. Abi's a splendid lead. Truly. I feel like I'm too positive on this blog so when I say someone is fantastic at something, you don't get how amazing they truly are. I love dancing with Abi. Such a connective dancer.

Craving satisfied.

In the midst of all this, my two worlds were colliding. On one hand I had my conservative Christian friends and on the other were my queer atheistic poly-pals. Bam. In one room. Whoa...

and it all went well, very well. I was pleased.

It was a positive experience seeing the L'Abri folks in a new context, and healthy.

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