Saturday, March 20, 2010

Striking gold where you least expect it

Is that a twinkle in his eyes? Is that my heart racing? Are we both giggling for the first time in a long while?

Recently, I have learned from an Indian Proverb that "To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak." Since my husband and I started ballroom dancing lessons, our hearts have been a chattering.

In the few short weeks since our first lesson, we know one thing: ballroom dancing outwardly expresses the language that our hearts have spoken fluently all along. A metaphor for our marriage, through dancing our hearts are shouting, "I promise to be there!"

We are one of 12 couples in our class. Even though we appear to be very different, we all have two things in common: we step on our partner’s toes and we trip over our own feet. In other words, we bring no natural talent to the dance floor. However, we are encouraged by our instructor, who believes that anyone can learn.

"Now remember, dancing is just like walking. And, be sure to practice when you go home," he reminds us.

When my husband and I do practice, we are like a new love, arm in arm, lightly stepping back and forth. We wrack our brains to recall the instructor’s words, "Each slow step takes two beats of music and every quick step takes one..."

One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four, we softly whisper.

With the furniture pushed back on the living room floor, we sweetly sway to the beat of Sugarland and Rascal Flats. Twenty minutes go by in a flash as we move about with an innocent trust in one another’s ability to remember.

The shades are not drawn. Our Dachshunds are looking on with amazement, possibly detecting a new spark, as we take slow, slow, quick, quick steps to the Foxtrot and rock forward, backward and then sideways while doing the Swing.

While ballroom dancing does expose our vulnerabilities, we are rediscovering our couple hood to the beat of 4-4 time.

After 38 years of relentlessly mining ways to be romantic, our hope of rekindling had withered; but now, we have struck gold on the dance floor.

The rhythmic heel, toe, heel toe reintroduced us to a finesse and tenderness that usually escapes our daily routine.

A new soft gift in our lives is transporting us back to an old familiar place where we first met, a time when we would gaze into each other’s eyes, coordinating every move and holding hands until they were hot and sweaty.

The slow gentle leaning into one another and the sudden pulling away represents the best parts of our love.

As we dance, we are in a happy, silly place. We are romantically giddy when we get it right and lovingly chuckle if we get it wrong.

Ballroom dancing brightly teases us into believing that we are young again. It is a fountain quenching our thirst. I like it here. I don't only want to visit this place; I want to stay.

When our lessons are over, we are talking about signing up for some more of this tonic that summons our hearts. Heel, toe, heel, two, three, four....

2010 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national and state award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took three first-place awards. To contact Paula, email, follow her blog at and find her on Facebook.


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