Cooper (my 4.5 yo golden retriever) & I go for a beach walk with my “inspiring” playlist on shuffle. I start dance running to a zumba song — skipping & twirling with Cooper on the long leash. He’s used to this. He does his thing & I find my groove around his sniff stops & starts. Yeah — it feels weird to do this on beach road. Sunday morning or any time, but — this is what I’m meant to do, dance run, jump & skip — so I try to do me & try to not think of how strange we (I) look.
We dance into the beach access and let loose a bit more now that we’re out of the beach road view. We dance sprint to the beat — up some steep beach steps and reach the top just as the song naturally crescendos. The sight & the timing & the joy of it all makes me shriek & laugh. The SUN is gloriously shining & the sea is literally sparkling in a huge wide swath of shimmers. This is some UNBELIEVABLE beauty to me. It’s OH SO SPARKLY. An AHHHHMAZING sight. The beach before us is SO beautiful. And surprisingly even pretty much empty. I laugh a HUGE laugh & I hoot a loud “wahoo!” unaware of anything & anyone else nearby.
I hear “What’s so funny?” from behind me. And without looking I say, “LIFE!” laughing & catching my breath.
This much older man — dark-tanned & silver-haired, fit (& I think that he must’ve been a looker when he was younger) asks if I’m dancing to music or just tunes in my head. I show him my phone and explain how I wish my phone amplified louder — that I’m looking for some such wearable speaker so I can dance & hear the music more. How I think more of us should dance down the street in addition to / instead of run. And I believe in sharing the music — not limiting it to ourselves through headphones. I wish we all could have more permission to move our bodies in that way in public — without feeling like a freak. I share my belief that we all need to keep our bodies MOVING. To live right?
He nods. “Everything old requires maintenance,” he says with a chuckle.
“And it’s worth it.”
We laugh together. I tell him about my dance mentor Kukuwa who says “you dance, you stay young.”
We’re on the top of this dune & talk about 10 minutes — sharing quick snippets and smiles. He’s from Ohio and moved here 5 years ago with his son’s family after his wife died.
His name is John. I tell him about my name SIGNY. Yes, it’s weird — just like me. How I didn’t like the name when I was little — no pencils with my name on them or anything, but how I like it now. I tell him the story of being named after a big Signy (wife of my dad’s marine buddy). She was from Iceland. There are lots of Signys in Iceland.
I tell him I’m just visiting happenstance. That I came from Ocracoke celebrating my 50th birthday this week — just me & Cooper and that we extended the trip with some OBX luck. He’s surprised of my age. Cool. I sensed that he deflated a little that I wasn’t a local. But for sure he wasn’t like interested in me — right?! I mean he was so cute — like my Dad — adorable senior citizen — so of course there’s NO romantic inclination on my side.
Omygosh I realize — he reminds me of my Dad. The way he speaks & other aspects. Funny thing is I realize while we’re talking — today is my Dad’s birthday. Today — right now. He’s 78.
John tells me that he plays a little guitar and writes songs. Thing is, he says, “once I write a song, I have a hard time remembering it. I have to memorize it the next day as if someone else wrote it.” I tell him it’s the same way with my choreography. I create dance fitness routines easily but have a hard time remembering them later.
He say’s he’s 80. I would have put him at 70-something.
His eyes very blue. His hair was amazing — full & silver. I thought of getting a selfie with him — but sometimes memories are better w/o the exact image, I think. We nod and smile as we both realize it’s time to go.
He tells me to keep dancing. And that he hopes to see me dancing on the street.
He appeared out of NOWHERE. And left the same way. I believe that this 80-year-old John was a visiting angel telling me a few different things. Validation. On my dad’s birthday. Another God whisper of goodness & that things are going the way they should.
After this experience — I was full-on bawling + laughing so hard (my FAVE EMOTIONS!!! =) It was one of those really rare, wonderful exchanges.
Cooper & I proceeded to dance on the beach & in the surf (a little bit; Cooper’s afraid of the waves =} The beach was like empty so I felt incredibly free to let loose & grove. Anyway — if anyone was watching, I do hope they at least smiled or even started to move, too. To their own beat.
Dance running / dance moving… we are meant to.