Went blues dancing on Thursday; it was the first time in ages I'd gone. It was wonderful (thanks to Liz for dragging me both there and onto the dance floor and Gui for refreshing my memory as to how to actually dance), and I spent some time later that night howling silently on the sofa repeatedly trying to get my right leg to uncramp. (It would uncramp, and then when I moved it would cramp again in a different place. Ouch.) It was totally worth it - and perhaps next time I should, uh, stretch.
One of the reasons I dance (various styles of swing/blues) is because it's a safe space for me to play with touch and physical interaction with other people. I mean, this is blues dancing. (The video is of Jenn and Gui, two friends and former housemates of mine, and amazing dancers and teachers.) I can have a hard time with hugs and still dance blues because it's a sandbox with known edges that I know I can navigate. I still usually have a hard time turning off the intellectual part of my brain when I dance - there'll be a millisecond lag as my brain buzzes with "oh he's pulling this way which means I should step here and then aah wait he's doing something else augh" - but on Thursday, for some magical reason, that clicked off.
And it's... it feels good. To be able to shift in response to a subtle tip of pressure on your shoulder. To spin around with an outstretched hand and trust that it'll be caught for you to be pulled back in for another move. To go several hours without too many words or questions or analytical decision-trees spinning around in your head. To toss down glasses of cold water while you watch bodies and footwork intertwine across the wooden floor, to feel the differences in the styles of various leads and try to match them, to slip slowly into sync with someone, to have some sort of physical connection. And to walk out into the cold January night and feel the steamy sweat evaporating from your hair.
It's been a while; the next morning (the cramps finally stopped with a hot water soak) I was gently reminded of the existence of a number of muscles in my torso, back, and legs that I don't typically use. And then, of course, I followed it up by my first winter hike today... since I didn't have proper gear, I improvised, stuffing slipper-socks into boots and layering up under jeans so the water wouldn't soak through. Liz took me around one of the easier trails in the Blue Hills Reservation, and I discovered that walking uphill in the snow is exhausting, that the muscles in my feet aren't used to doing that in heavy boots, and that flopping into the snow to make snow angels (haven't done that in years!) is a delightful way to cool off.
Watching the sunlight filter through the trees is magic. And boy, are you hungry afterwards - hot soup is great. We went to REI later that evening and I now have a set of thick, warm socks for the next hike. That's the only thing I could manage to get over sticker shock for. ($150 for a pair of pants? I'll keep using my layers-and-then-jeans arrangement until I find a sale, thank you.)
When I got back from hiking, socks-acquisition, and a satisfyingly spicy burrito dinner in Waltham during which we caught part of the football game, I toted groceries home and spent the rest of the evening playing charades with my aunt and Audrey, tinkering with a bit of piano, and watching her (my aunt Lynne May) get excited about Inkscape and the possibility of remixing Mo's curriculum (written for middle-schoolers) for her first grade class and hearing her plans for the spring. One of the themes the class is supposed to cover is "community," she's been asking questions about open source and Sugar for months now, and... well, let's say we're both pretty excited about this.
Tomorrow: blues dancing again! And a lot of cooking, and rediscovering the floor of my room. Some writing I need to get done, too. It's good to be tired and sore and able to soak in that; I should physically exhaust myself more often, because it helps brings a different sort of peace to my mind. And given that my usual mode of operation can be illustrated by Thursday morning's antics of trying and failing to exhaust myself enough with pushups, piano-playing, etc. to be able to physically sit down and work at the computer, finally settling down by blasting Beatles music while standing in front of my computer simultaneously editing the Events FAD page and bellowing the harmony and/or humming the bass line (sometimes, in order to concentrate, I have to cram things into my ability to multitask so the "extra churn capacity" in my head is occupied and the part that's useful can sit down and do work) ... peace is a good thing to find whenever I can get it.