Telluride Contest 3
I have become a vessel. The dance gods have taken over.
It usually starts before dawn, first as a twitching in my right baby toe, which slowly extends upwards, through my foot, ankle, shin and knee. It pauses in my right thigh, which is thumping uncontrollably by 7 a.m. Sleeping through it only activates the gods. Acting on no cerebral signal, my legs scissor kick their way out of the sleeping bag and twist their way into whatever halfway clean jeans are strewn about the tent. I explode from the tent, run towards our camp’s picnic tables and come to a sliding stop just inches from the coffee-cradling adults.
“YEEHAW,” I yell, from my knees. “Y’all ready to DANCE?”
They look nervously at each other. Jim grabs my extended hand and helps me up.
“Well, I was going to offer you coffee but, ehh, do you want a beer instead?”
Their efforts are superfluous. The movement of my limbs is like a running faucet I can’t turn off. I jiggle to Bela Fleck on banjo. I sway to Edgar Meyer on bass. I jive with the jejune, bobbing and bouncing with bearded mountain men to a Yonder Mountain jam session.
Toni Rice featuring Alison Krauss is up next. The fogies in our camp can’t stop raving about their “tight” sound.
“Those boys from Yonder could learn a lesson from these folks,” Jim says. He grabs the hand of his wife and pulls her to the dusty dance floor.
I follow them in a trance. I develop a leg for partner dancing during the course of the afternoon. By night, I’m gliding like my life depends on it.
In a way, it is.
John and I dance for fifteen minutes to Sammy B. When the song finally crashes to a halt, a man from the outskirts descends upon us.
“WOW!” He raves. “You guys were just…totally in-tuned with each other!”
Send your praise to the dance gods, buddy, I want to say. I am only a prophet.
A dizzying hour and a half later, the performers leave the stage and I crumple to the ground. The gods have granted me rest. I pick myself up off of the ground and wearily return to camp.
It’s temporary, I know, but I’ll take what I can get.