Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Where The Children No Longer Dance

By       Message Jan Baumgartner       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Author 2241
Become a Fan
  (4 fans)
- Advertisement -
I remember one particular vision - the first time my small nieces came to visit me in Maine. With a glistening backdrop of sea, they ran onto the narrow stretch of grass bordering the deck. They danced. Later, and for the first time, together they ran into the cool ocean surf, gentle water breaking around tiny, pulsing legs - and again they danced. Summer sun and salt spray are oftentimes the only intoxicants that children need to break into one of the purest forms of celebration. The celebration of life through dance.

But even without sun and salt spray, children will dance. They'll dance to moonlight and shooting stars - to staying up late. To baby birds, a mother's stroke, a happy dog, favorite meals, a friendly smile, a polished stone. It doesn't take much to make a child happy, make a child want to dance. To celebrate what is vital and real - playmates, family, a full belly, a snug bed - all that weaves its small way into the warm cup of safety. Their nest.

They can't help it. Joyous bodies in motion. A beat, a song in their heart. They dance. They move to celebrate that sweet and sometimes fleeting taste of naivete. Their lightness of being. The drumbeat of life.

They'll dance for all the reasons human beings should dance - because we are thankful. Because we have to. Because sometimes words cannot articulate what it feels like to be alive. To be hopeful. They dance because they can.

Most of them.

It is hard to imagine a child not dancing. Not wanting - no life left to celebrate in motion.

Do they dance in Darfur? Do the homeless, terrified, hungry, orphaned children of Darfur, dance?

Do they remember what it felt like to lift strong, able limbs? To turn their beautiful, lithe bodies into poetry in motion? To jump high into an endless sky?

Fast forward. Skip. Repeat.

To laugh out loud while their hearts catapulted them into wild leaps and twirls. Do they remember twirling so fast and hard, they crumpled to the ground in bursts of exhausted energy - dizzy from so much living?

Things, in Darfur, are going from bad to worse. From worse to catastrophic. From life to death. From barely living to surviving, barely. Slow death by life.

No one is dancing in Darfur.

The movement there is slow, deliberate, urgent. It is a trail of bodies walking away from, running, fleeing - to nowhere. It is fast motion from burning villages, obliterated water sources, lifeless bodies, assaulted family members, and an end to future as they once knew it to be. It is dragging feet through dust to the ends of the earth.

Children have stopped dancing. Some can hardly move. Some cannot cry. It takes too much energy. Expels the last vestiges of wet from their parched, listless, and dehydrated bodies. Who would have thought dancing was a luxury? Want has become their only movement - hunger, thirst, safety. Pain has replaced Joy. Suffering is what now moves their limbs, if they can move at all.

Who knew that dancing was not just the sheer joy of being alive? Who knew it needed more than a full heart? That it demanded visions clean of unspeakable horrors. That it needed liquid motion, sustenance, hopeful wings.

Many of us know varying degrees of suffering. But most of us will never know their pain - the extent of human suffering on that cold, infamous scale of horror. Most of us need to believe, somehow, that we will always dance again. That's the crazy thing about hope. How empty and alone must one be to be void of hope?

Did the children of Darfur stop dancing when they lost hope? Or did they lose hope when they could no longer dance?

One of the slogans used to define this genocide in Darfur is, "how will history judge us?" Perhaps we should not focus so much on history and how we will collectively be judged, but rather, what we can do today. The children of Darfur are not looking to history for answers. They are surviving for the day - they cannot fathom a moment beyond. Let us focus on "how will I judge myself tomorrow?" And, make a difference today.

Tonight, my niece Shauna celebrates her twelfth birthday. She is having a slumber party. Her sister, Jessica, will be there too. I have no doubts that they will dance. With friends in tow, they will shut the bedroom door and with music blasting in perfect harmony to shrieks of laughter and joy, they will dance. They will dance to celebrate life. And whether or not they can articulate in words why they are so joyous - why their healthy, vibrant limbs are compelled to move - they will dance to hope. Because they are thankful. Because they have.

Because they can.

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Jan Baumgartner is the author of the memoir, Moonlight in the Desert of Left Behind. She was born near San Francisco, California, and for years lived on the coast of Maine. She is a writer and creative content book editor. She's worked as a (more...)
 

Jan Baumgartner Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Rumors, Speculation and Fear: San Miguel de Allende Copes with the Spread of Media-Fueled Alarm, Not H1N1 Virus

Regarding Mexico: Biased News, Half-Truths and Fear Mongering Fuel Paranoia of All Things South of the Border

OEN Pakistan Correspondent Muhammad Khurshid Cries for Help: Home Reduced to Rubble as Threats of Death Continue

Tamales and Tacos and Beers, Oh My!

Second Chances: Former Death Row Inmate, Kenneth Foster Jr., Breathes New Life and Hope Through Poetry

OEN Colleague Muhammad Khurshid Fields Threats Against His Life