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Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


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Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka



I’m not above calling out, “A poetic moment!” Or “Beauty!” as we are walking past a hummingbird drinking nectar or driving past a field of flowers. (I adopted this habit after watching “A Room with a View.” Fans will remember certain scenes fondly.) Much to my kids’ dismay/and or amusement, I continue this practice whenever I can, if I feel I’m in safe company. My husband has accepted this, and maybe he even depends on it at times. I like to think so.


The blue notes of life are just as danceable as the high notes. They have their own blue tempo, which we can begin to blend into more joyful rhythm when we feel ready. And what about the mundane cadences of the day? The time-to-clean-the-bathroom glissade? Can we change our own choreography for these mundane tasks? Or even find room for the mundane in dance mind? Celebrate the mundane? I believe we can and I accept the challenge.


And, as I begin this mid-life dance, I find myself in the non-zen space sometimes of returning to certain moments in my life, picking them up like shells in my memory gallery and wondering at them, whispering to them, listening to their songs from this new vantage point. What can I learn from them or cherish about them, these distant shells that call me into dance mind once again? So I will re-visit some of these moments; maybe reflecting on dances past is part of eventually feeling even more centered in the present. Shall we dance?

Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka

I don't regret the Cowles Mountain hike- where I first tweaked my knee (on a beautiful June 28th)- or my mid-life novice adventure to hip-hop class (on July 8th)- where I caused further tweakage- or my hike to Upper Sardine Lake in the Sierra Nevadas (on August 7th)- where more havoc was wrought on dear old Knob Knee.


On the latter hike I loped along with Roy, Leo, John and Ulli, Buddy and Diego in the pristine pine-filled air. I heard the rushing cold water coursing through Young American mine and I felt again like that young American. I lay on the rocks and watched the clouds gather dark and pregnant with storm and the water chop onto the shoreline of Upper Sardine, with the memory of sprawling in a rowboat 20 years ago there, in the black of night with the milky way at arms' reach, the stars so bright and close I could feel their white hot breath.


These memories were worth every moment and the swelling that came afterwards. But I don't want to permanently injure my knee. I want to dance again. I am not so Zen that I have completely detached from those desires.


Amazingly, though, and oh so reluctantly, I have learned to enjoy these days of restricted movement, something I was not sure I was capable of. I've become grateful for this opportunity to slow down and see things from a slower pace.

Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


I injured my knee two months ago. This whole experience has been a rigorous exercise in Zen. It's been a process of letting go of my attachment to my preferred form of physical exertion- dance. Loosening my attachment to flashdancelocity (the feeling of my spirit soaring when I dance) was at its most painful emotionally when I had not yet accepted that I couldn't get my dance fix every day.  

If I'm able to dance and hike again my lens of "Well, of course I dance and hike- this is just what I do" will have evolved to "Wow, I'm dancing and hiking again... Each time I do this could be my last so I'm soaking it in, every wisp of wind against my face and each flex of muscle-in-glory." 

So this chapter has been about re-imagining who I can be if I can't move around as freely as I used to. I'm still a writer; my hands are fine. In fact my introspection has deepened, my antennae fine-tuned by this event.

And I am still a dancer in my mind... I continue to twirl and chasse in my mind at every opportunity. My leaps are grander than they ever could be in real life.

Now howl, "We are poetry in motion!" That's who I am inside, and you are, too.