“When the sun rises, I go to work; When the sun goes down, I take my rest; I dig the well from which I drink; I farm the soil that yields my food. I share creation; kings do no more.”
(trans. By Y.S.Han, in the Christian Century, 1927. This poem is recognized as one of the oldest Chinese folk poems, roughly dated 2500 B.C.E.)
Once upon a time, We were in rhythm, and We danced, We: the Universe, My Ancestors, and Yours. We were indistinguishable then and for a long long time: animated Starstuff at the mercy and the glory of Winds and Waves, Thunder and Moonlight. It was hard to say where You began and where I began and where Your reach ended and where My steps stopped, etcetera etcetera times a billion or two, such was the Eternality and the Encompassing Everything of the Dance.
We danced in the soil to the beat of the sun,
we danced in the rain when there was nowhere to run,
and we danced all night to beat of our hearts.
When we danced that way, we danced as One.
And then one of us rose from the common dust and the rest of us followed and one of us would get ahead and the others would catch up, pass by, get there first, not make room, “Move along now” etcetera etcetera times a billion or two and the Rhythms seemed harder and harder and harder to hear.
And then on May 14, 1801, it became Silent. (Pick a date, they’re all arbitrary, all contrived, all confusing- in fact it may have been a spring day in the 17th Century, or Christmas Day, 1822- the dates, after all, are part of the suffocating, stultifying, stupefying of humanly concocted Noise that hinders our hearing even of our own heartbeats.
It became silent and then..the noise, the real noise the noise of iron-slurried coal and the noise of generators burning and of locomotives and rifles and the noise of screams and steam in heat-searing shudders and the tearing apart of mountains and bird’s nests, of rivers and negros’ backs. And the dancing stopped here and there, then mostly here and there and everywhere..
Many of our moonlit sisters and sun dwelling brothers died under the weight, the crush of the discordances. They rolled over in sweat-wet beds and could stand it no longer and died of any number of medical maladies all of which were hatched in Noise.
And we descended into hell. And on the right day, we rose again.
That day, too, is arbitrary and for many (most?) still unrealized, but on that day, a day of particular noise, a day of eye-burning smoke
and ice melt
and fuel spills
and fish kills
and land fills
and death knells,
the Music was heard, again..
By, some on the wind;
by others, on the waves;
by all with ears to hear..
in the beating of our Heart(s).
and some of us remembered
and some of those who remembered,
And the rest of us will, too,
and then all of us,
because the noise of silence and
darkness of being still
could no longer be tolerated
and the jagged edges of the dance floor need to be smooth again
because that’s what we are always moving toward,
that’s where we will learn to breathe again
one by one,
etcetera etcetera times a billion or two,
then to Dance.
2010, David B.Weber