Me, Mike and Manny circa 1966

Sunday, October 6, 2013

San Diego Mountain Dance

for Jen Derilo

I stood under a tree and I watched the dancers move like mountain birds, flapping wings and skipping to the beat of the gangsa.  They circled the green in follow-the-leader fashion.  I have seen this native dance and heard these bells rung always oceans away from las Islas Pilipinas.  The dalagas dancing reminded me of my nieces, of my friends, of myself (as a geeky awkward teen in Filipino costume), dancing traditional dances in nontraditional ways.  Then the leader of the dance troupe invited the community to join them.  I didn't think they would.  But then this blonde mommy in a ponytail, with toddler on hip ran across the hill to join them, and then a kid in shorts stumbled after the line of dancers, then one of the Pinay dancer's tall white boyfriends, hairy beard and all, arms up and hollering danced his way into the line.  In a moment there was a swarm of people coming out from under the shaded trees, from the canopies beyond the green, from picnic tables and from under rocks, from ribbons of blue sky and out of thin air, all coming out of nowhere, swirling like a flock of mountain birds, laughing with their heads thrown back, calling out to seven thousand islands on the other side of the world.   Everybody coming home at once.

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