during sophomore college, our professor took us to the top of the world to dance. we played music from our SUVs and danced as the sunset over the ocean. and then as the sun fell past the horizon, i cried. overwhelmed, but unsure as to why. one week later, i wrote about it.
here it is.
From the Dancing Log
I wish I could remember more of it. There are scenes that flash around my head when I try to take myself back. There are swatches of senses that I could piece together, layer atop one another to create a full picture, a scene, or a memory if I was lucky.
I remember the gold. I remember the blue. I remember crunching beneath my feet as I ran towards the sun, through the grass, not caring about the thorns that nestled themselves into my socks or scratched their autographs onto my shins. I remember laughter, and dancing, smiles, music— so much music— floating away in a breeze to a sky so close, I could dip my hands into it if I stood on my toes and stretched my arms up high enough from the sunroof of a Ford Expedition. The whales seemed to dance with us, specks of black pepper. Us, jumping and cheering ants on an iridescent mountainside, and, them, spouting their hellos and goodbyes, before turning for the night.
How could anything so big look so small from here?
When I closed my eyes, it felt like a wind that never passed. A lightness. A moment of breathlessness that somehow manages to linger, as the sun sets itself so preciously leaving its streaks on the everlasting ocean. We danced, nothing could touch me, not a worry or anxiety in the world could catch me on this mountain. No one other than the people around me knew where I was, saw what I saw, or felt what I felt. Liberated, untouchable, free.
At first, I felt so full. Whole. Feeling small and immense all at once. How could something so big look so small from here? How could something so small feel so big? A vertigo-inducing shrinking in the perspective that pulled me toward the cliff-side and an oceanic swelling in my chest; both intertwining and wrestling, growing and shrinking, to hold me in this chaotic stillness.
I thought about them. And I thought about home. And that phone call and the scratch in their voice and the whispers and the consequences and the hurt and the guilt and the fear and I felt this reflexive flushing of warmth from my face to my shoulders come over me, just as the sky began flushing itself of its blue to take on a pinker colour. Here I was, sitting against the sun— skin warm and stomach cold wondering how I could let something so far away, something that was not present, wrench me away from a moment so pure? The creeping static in my fingertips, familiar knot in my ribcage, breath hard to reach, “don’t let me leave, I have to stay here forever,” “please don’t let the sun fall past that horizon, we’d pack the cars before the stars could come to comfort me and the tinny phantom blue of a post-sunset, pre-night-sky air threw me head first into that unwanted feeling of almost.”
“Don’t let the sun fall past that horizon.”
As the sun continued to creep behind the clouds sitting just above the ocean, I opened my eyes wider and wider, almost paralyzed yet frantic, sweeping the horizon- from the lavender left painted over the rocky coasts to the fiery right where the gold sank lower and lower.
Don’t let the sun fall past the horizon.
I’ll never sit on this log again. I’ll never see this view again. I’ll never dance with these people again. The people around me will never be the same people as they are today again. Everything on that overlook was so ephemeral and beautiful and in my desperation to catch the wind and bottle up the sunlight, tears fell.
Because that’s the point.
This wish for permanence in that moment permeated throughout every feeling I have ever clung to, good or bad.
The sun will set. The music will stop. People will grow. Hurt will pass. Thoughts come and go and we forget. Everything changes and nothing lasts. And that’s what freedom is. Let it wash over you.
Like the wind and the sunlight, the memory of the Dancing Log, the pain – nothing is meant to stay with you forever.
So I wish I could remember more of it, but I feel liberated in knowing that I do not. Beauty and love will come again and again, just like the wind and just like the sun. Let that sun fall past the horizon, live in that hazy blue, knowing the stars will come soon. Today, I know what freedom is. How to live in almost. How to dance the line between big and small, day and night, hurt and light. Today, I know what hope is.