The earth, dancing

In the stillness of a half-lit house it is easy to believe that the world is at rest.   There is no movement that I can perceive.  No sound to crack the silence.  But stillness is an illusion.  My body is a commotion of movement.  I breathe in and out, my heart beats, eyes blink, cells vibrate, synapses fire.  When I am still, I am never motionless.  And neither is the house around me.  Floorboards creak and settle, radiators sigh, tiny creatures scuttle, dust motes twirl.  I barely notice it, but there is motion within and around me, a ballet that never stops.

We are no more than mayflies to the earth.  Like the blink of an eye against its billions of years.  To us, it seems slow and solid.  The ground is steadfast beneath our feet.  Immovable rock, sturdy hills, venerable trees.  We are confident of walking on solid ground.  Confident that, barring natural disaster, the routes we take will scarcely alter.  But the earth is ancient and moves at a speed we can’t always perceive.  We see the evidence of movement in the measure of days and years, yet it is hard to believe that the ground on which we walk is spinning beneath us and in a constant waltz with the sun.

We may not see it, especially in the naked midwinter, but the earth is always dancing.  Anyone who has ever watched a time lapse film of the landscape knows that it is not still.    The plants that seem static are growing as we pass, gracefully extending shoots and unfurling flowers.  Trees are pushing out buds and growing branches.  Rotting vegetation is transforming into soil, rock becoming sand.  The dance is taking place all around us, but it is a slow dance, one imperceptible to our vision.  I have never watched a flower being born or a shoot caught in the act of piercing the soil.  The shift appears to take place when we aren’t watching.

Sometimes the dance of the earth is obvious.  It is there in the rhythm of the waves and the sparkle of the stars.  It is visible in the phasing of the moon and the flicker of shadows.  It is in the glide of a wing, the prance of hooves and the tap of feet.   Weather is the earth putting on a show: the flamenco of rain, the waltz of snow.  The wind is a masterful choreographer, setting leaves jigging, grasses swaying, clouds scudding the sky.  It has many moods, many styles, from the subtle minuet of a breeze to the jitterbug of a gale.

At Candlemas, I look for the first signs of spring stirring in the earth and I see dancing.  I see it in the burbling of the burn and the ripples on the pond.  I see it in the shoots of the daffodils and the first purple crocuses rising to meet the sun.  I see it in the flicker of teal and orange that is the kingfisher I first glimpsed last March.  And in the snow that falls like ticker tape the next day.  So when February seems dismal and bare, don’t forget that the earth is dancing.  And though you may not feel like dancing – you already are.

144 thoughts on “The earth, dancing

  1. …it is hard to believe that the ground on which we walk is spinning beneath us and in a constant waltz with the sun.”
    I often think about it, in fact, but it remains mysterious.
    As always, Andrea, you evocate the beauty of our world with the exact words. Your photos are gorgeous too.


  2. What a beautiful metaphor–this largely invisible dance. Oh for this swirling dance to continue, uninterrupted by human invasion and exploitation, raping its glory! This is a calming piece, despite its action. Thank you!


  3. Oh thanks for this. It’s good to be reminded! And I love the Scissor Sisters video especially the bit where their heads are in see through plastic boxes. A little bit how I’ve been feeling recently! Time to get out there and dance.


  4. Dear Andrea, I’m always in awe of your lyrical way with words. This is one of your most beautiful posts. Forgive me if I’ve said that before, but it’s true. “My body is a commotion of movement.” So true, but I’m afraid my own commotion is not graceful! LOL.
    I loved the dancing theme of this post. You are truly dancing the sacred dream awake. Hugs on the wing!


  5. Andrea you’re blessed with the gift of words. The way you’ve put them together in this post describing the science of the earth so poetically feels like music. Felt more aware of the dance after reading this post. You create magic with your words, Andrea🙂


  6. It is a joy and an honor to read your words, Andrea. You express the inexpressible, complicated phenomenon like the spinning of the planet and the subtle shifting of the seasons. I especially liked the paragraph highlighting the “dance of the earth.” Your photos were a great pleasure too, I liked the flamenco rain dance. I have the day off today and will be exploring a new area outdoors, and I will have your elegant words in my head as I do, thank you.


  7. Beautiful! I feel the earth dancing every time I look out my window, now that you mention it. So true! The view out my window is the same, but not the same, and that’s because it is dancing. Lovely way to think about it. Thank you!


  8. Wonderful metaphors and descriptive phrases and poetic perceptions which are such joy to read…
    Your description of the earth’s dance reminded me of a moment after a deeply powerful weekend workshop filed with mystical insights.
    As I looked our of the window the next morning and across at a tall wall built of huge chunks of rock, I saw that it was not just in-animate rocks, but that each separate stone seemed to be shimmering with movement, and the whole wall was alive with a dance of atoms.
    .It wasn’t a solid wall but a shifting, moving, rhythmic pattern of life – magic and joyful and unforgettable.
    At first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but now I know that that is what the whole universe is like, a dance of life and energy

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The last paragraph is brilliant. It is harder to detect over this side of the world, it’s seems to be summer and less summer, then heavy rain for a month or two. You always evoke the majesty of nature and her processes in such a beautiful way.


  10. It’s funny I’ve been taking daily walks and noticing the little things. I met a few robins and a blue jay today. They really want it to be spring. I love your perspective. I do notice the clouds and the trees moving but I never think of it as the earth dancing. I will now.


  11. Oh, I just love this, Andrea. Your words express it perfectly in depth and feeling. It is like a dance, especially when I tune in, that’s going on all the time. Just love it. ❤


  12. A beautiful essay, as always. I have a clematis that is trying to get into my window when I am not watching. I push it out several times during the day, but every time it is back again and the vine is a couple of inches longer than before.

    Liked by 1 person

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